Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB. France/USA, 2002. Canal+, Forensic Films, StudioCanal, Untitled Productions. Story by Peter Sollett, Eva Vives, Screenplay by Peter Sollett. Cinematography by Tim Orr. Produced by Alain de la Mata, Scott Macaulay, Robin O’Hara, Peter Sollett. Music by Roy Nathanson. Production Design by Judy Becker. Costume Design by Jill Newell. Film Editing by Myron I. Kerstein. Independent Spirit Awards 2003. Toronto International Film Festival 2002.
Peter Sollett’s debut feature, based on his short film Five Feet High and Rising, is a heartfelt examination of the life of an inner-city youth and his troubled family. Newcomer Victor Rasuk is excellent as the title character, a misguided young man whose seemingly easy life of hanging with his buddies and scoping out girls is getting more complicated as he enters possible adulthood. A new girl on the block has managed to capture more than just his vanity but his heart as well, while his disapproving grandmother blames him for the loss of innocence that is starting to happen to his two younger siblings. Sollett manages to get even better performances out of the non-professional cast than he did in his short, plus infuses the film with humour, tenderness, and a genuine sense of emotion that avoids manipulation and instead makes you care greatly about the characters.