The Seventh Annual Sprockets Toronto International Film Festival for Children
Journey to Little Rock: The Untold Story of Minnijean Brown Trickey
Directed by Rob Thompson
This superb documentary details the life of Minnijean Brown Trickey, whose importance to the civil rights movement in the States is clear. As one of the original "Little Rock Nine" - that being nine black students that were integrated into an all-white school in 1957 - Trickey would likely be worthy of documentary treatment if that's all she had accomplished with her life. But as we learn through interviews and old news footage, Trickey's battles didn't end there. She and her husband, both vocal opponents of the Vietnam war, moved to Canada to avoid the draft, where they fell in with a small community of hippies. Trickey took up several causes from that point, including Native American rights and forestry, while raising several children. As a chronicle of Trickey's life, the film excels - however, as a look at how one person genuinely can make a difference, Journey to Little Rock: The Untold Story of Minnijean Brown Trickey is surely an empowering piece of entertainment.
Directed by Paul Morrison
UNITED KINGDOM/106 MINUTES
Wondrous Oblivion is a feel-good story about racial tolerance that mostly works, though an overlong running time eventually sinks it. Set in London during the early '60s, the film follows an 11-year-old boy named David (Sam Smith) as he befriends the black family that's just moved next door. In particular, David finds himself drawn to Dennis (Delroy Lindo), whose passion for cricket has led him to build a small field in his backyard. Dennis begins teaching David the finer points of the game, much to the consternation of David's parents (who are experiencing retaliation from their racist neighbors). There's a subplot involving the sexual awakening of David's mom (she winds up falling for Dennis), but it's David's coming-of-age that propels the story forward. Writer/director Paul Morrison does a fantastic job of establishing that middle-class neighborhood, and effectively develops several characters (though the emphasis is clearly on David and Dennis). The film's only real shortcoming is overlength; the story goes on for about a half hour longer than it really needs to. The stuff involving David's mom could've been excised without causing any real problems, but nevertheless, the movie's essentially entertaining throughout. And, most importantly, we're not required to have any knowledge of cricket and how the game operates - which is certainly a good thing, as it's an utterly baffling sport.