BY ROBERT GILLARD
As a child progresses through life, he or she begins to put away childish things. But some parts of life can expedite that maturation process. Such an issue is presented in the movie “Of Boys and Men,” which was recently released on DVD.
Robert Townsend, who also produced the film, stars as Holden Cole, the patriarch of a Chicago family. Cole and his wife Rieta (Angela Bassett) are preparing for the college graduation of their eldest son Terrell (Vince Green).
The day starts as any other, as narrated by middle child Z (Dante Boens). Z and his friends play video games before going to school, Rieta chats with a sleepy Holden while she prepares for work, and Terrell and youngest child Ariel (Yahaira Tarr) have breakfast.
However, tragedy breaks the familiarity of this day as Rieta is killed in an accident. Enter Holden’s younger sister Janay (Victoria Rowell), who comes to stay with the family during their grieving period.
Janay tries her best to comfort her family and restore them to normalcy. She cooks for them, helps the kids with their homework, and dances with them – just like Rieta used to do. Yet not everyone is immediately receptive to Janay’s attempts.
Meanwhile Terrell becomes increasingly frustrated with his inability to find a job. Seeing this, Holden proposes that Terrell come work at his auto shop, the same auto shop – he reminds Terrell – that provided the income to fund Terrell’s college education.
As he continues to move past his mother’s death, Z enters a basketball tournament with his friends. However, Z and his friends are in desperate need of a coach for their team.
In the days following his wife’s death, Holden becomes more withdrawn.
Through flashbacks the audience learns more of Holden and Rieta’s relationship. Rieta loved her family dearly, and held on to the little things that brought her joy. Holden loves his family too, but is more occupied with working to provide a roof over his family’s head than spending time with them. This serves as a point of contention with Rieta, and is a trait of Holden’s that Janay comes to recognize.
Janay pays particular attention to Z, as he appears to be hurt by his mother’s death more than his siblings are. Sensing a lack of love from his father, Z demands to return with his aunt and live in Michigan.
The film’s most prominent stars (Townsend, Rowell, and Bassett) did wonderful jobs capturing the emotions of a family stricken by grief.
However, the performances by some of the child actors were a bit distracting, as their reactions were a bit late.
The comedic talents of Faizon Love and Bobb’e J. Thompson shone throughout the movie.
This movie gets a seven out of 10.