Coming to Cinemas 20 June 2019
Nia DaCosta's debut feature, nominated for Best Narrative Feature at Tribeca, follows two down-and-out estranged sisters trying to make ends meet.
"Ollie (Tessa Thompson, Creed) is just getting by in economically depressed Little Woods, a fracking boomtown in North Dakota. She has left her days of illegally running prescription pills over the Canadian border behind her, eyeing a potential new job that would finally break her out of the small town. But when her mother dies, she is thrust back into the life of her estranged sister Deb (Lily James, Baby Driver), who is facing her own crisis with an unplanned pregnancy and a deadbeat ex (James Badge Dale, The Departed) ... As both bills and pressure mount, Ollie faces a choice: whether to return to a way of life she thought she’d left behind for just one more score." (Tribeca Film Festival)
- Bay Of Plenty
- Hawke's Bay
- Nelson-Tasman Bay
- Taupo-Central Plateau
- West Coast
- Nia DaCosta(feature debut)
Crime, Drama, Festival & Independent
Rating: M Offensive language, low level violence & threatening behaviour
Little Woods is a story of two women doing their best. With the end of her parole approaching, weary Ollie (Tessa Thompson) is looking to get out. She insists she’s done with running pills across the border, but when debt collectors come after her house and her sister Deb (Lily James) finds out she’s pregnant, Ollie has to do what she has to do.
Against the backdrop of a swelling opioid crisis, Little Woods is a well-drawn vignette of rural America and the practicalities of precarity. Rapidly rising tensions are held together dramatically by Tessa Thompson’s naturalistic performance— the things she can do with a glance! Lily James does her best with a role that doesn’t suit her—something about her face disturbs her surroundings. Unfortunately, the film’s dialogue is often overly expositional, especially noticeable in scenes featuring Ollie’s kindly parole officer (Lance Reddick).
Set in North Dakota and shot largely in Texas, Little Woods is visually striking. Comparisons to Debra Granik’s Winter’s Bone and Leave No Trace are fitting—while writer-director Nia DaCosta’s political concerns are apparent; rural poverty, housing precarity, addiction, the cost of healthcare, and access to abortion among them; character is still prioritised. Little Woods is a solid feature debut. I’m looking forward to what Nia DaCosta does next.
New York Times