Brother is one of my favourite movies from TIFF 22. The novel by David Chariandry was already one of my favourite books from recent years and director Clement Virgo did a great job adapting it for a film. Led by the dynamic duo of Lamar Johnson and Aaron Pierre, Brother gives us some great insight into the struggles that take place in a small Scarborough community.
This is the story of two brothers growing up in a Scarborough housing complex known as the Park and explores themes of family, race, and masculinity. Aaron Pierre is an up-and-coming star who plays Francis, the older brother of Michael. In the film, Francis goes through a major character arc and Pierre delivers the goods on the acting front. His performance is incredibly believable and full of gritty emotion. Pierre is just so charismatic and convincing in the role that when his character is at his lows, the audience is right there with him. I felt very connected to this fictional character and that was largely due to Pierre’s performance.
As a Toronto native, I appreciated all the production design. I was able to spot locations I have been to or that I remembered from my childhood. Shooting this movie on location allowed it to feel grounded and authentic. This might not matter to viewers outside of the city but to me, it made a big difference.
The script is another strong point. Without giving too much away, the tension builds as the movie progresses to its sad and tragic conclusion. This is a story about a family reeling from the loss of a loved one and trying to come to terms with their pain. The script draws you in from the very beginning and keeps you hanging on to the very end when you will leave feeling emotionally drained by what you have experienced.
Brother is a story about family, love, loss, grief, and acceptance and I highly recommend it. Everyone involved with this movie has my praise and respect for delivering such an outstanding character-driven story.