Reviewed by: Jennie Kermode

"Jed Berry delivers an assured performance that belies his age."

Alex is a young teenager, out on the streets. On a cold night, he huddles up in a doorway. But Alex isn't here because of his own problems – he's here because of his mother's. Shooting up again, she's forgotten to let him back into the house. He has to hang aound until someone resentfully intervenes. We get the impression this happens a lot.

Alex' story is a simple one, this short film little more than a portrait of the boy and his circumstances, but it reflects reality for too many kids whose stories are too little heard. The film is underlit, with some dodgy sound work; the camerawork is uneven; yet this contributes to the atmosphere of things gone awry. In the lead, Jed Berry delivers an assured performance that belies his age. He's utterly at ease in front of the camera even when playing a boy ill at ease with is surroundings. This is important because it emphasises the fact that Alex is not at fault here. He's just an ordinary kid trying to get by. Berry's engaging turn will bring the story closer to home for many viewers, gving them someone they can identify with, diminishing the sense of poverty tourism that stories like this sometimes evoke.

As his mother, Alison Brougham is less fluent but generally works well. Hers is a tightly restricted role, her character intensely self-centred as survivors are wont to be. All the emotion between the two comes from Berry. The script wisely leaves things unspoken; a touch, a glance are all that is needed to convey an ongoing, inescapable sense of loss.

Reviewed on: 24 Mar 2013
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A teenager left to roam the streets by his heroin-addicted mother dicovers he has a remarkable gift.

Director: John Sweeney

Starring: Jed Berry, Alison Brougham

Year: 2011

Runtime: 14 minutes

Country: UK


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