Director: Tommy Oliver
Not only an assured debut for first time feature filmmaker Oliver, but boasting a heartbreaking and incredibly nuanced performance from leading man Hill Harper, 1982 charts one man’s near descent into madness while trying to keep his family together amid the backdrop of the early 1980s crack cocaine epidemic in Philadelphia.
Tim (Harper) wants to live simply. He owns one Laundromat with another on the way. He has an exceptionally smart 10-year old daughter (Troi Zee) and a loving wife (Sharon Leal) with a troubled past. His wife’s past comes back to haunt them all thanks to the resurfacing of her former lover, a fresh out the joint drug dealer (Wayne Brady, menacingly against type) who gets her hooked on “hard rock.” Tim is forced into single parenthood, not knowing how to explain why mommy never comes home except to beg for cash and rob them.
Oliver never backs away from difficult subject matter (semi-autobiographical, at that) and it’s positively gut-wrenching to watch. Zee, Leal, and Brady hold their own, but Harper commands the screen at every turn, wearing disappointment, confusion, pain, and a whole lot of warmth for his daughter on his face. It’s an incredibly layered work and a remarkable debut. (Andrew Parker)
Saturday, September 14th, Scotiabank 13, 3:30pm