By Mark Fields
Vivacious, strong-willed Inez (Teyana Taylor) is just out of prison and slowly rebuilding her life when she spots 6-year-old Terry, her son now in foster care, on the street. She decides to kidnap her son away from his dubious foster family, and the two start living a new life together hiding in plain sight in 1990s New York City. A.V., making her feature film debut as both director and screenwriter, draws powerful, grounded performances from her largely unknown cast (which also includes Will Catlett, Terri Abney, and a trio of young actors as the growing Terry). The unblinking screenplay manages again and again to defy the potential stereotypes of this story, and a major third-act revelation gives another layer of pognance to Inez and Terry’s journey. An evolving New York also plays a significant role in this story, and Rockwell and her cinematographer Eric K. Yue recapture the city in its former gritty glory (even the film stock has a familiar ‘90s grain to it).