DURING MY SCHOOL YEARS, MOST OF the best advice I got was from people I hardly knew at the start. There was a time during the day where I was removed from a study period because of a couple of bullies in the study hall. Since I played piano, I was assigned to take my study time in the school band’s office. I remember the first time I walked into the office, carrying my acceptance note. There were various string and horn instruments either sitting on stands or hanging on racks, with an upright piano in the far corner. The students in the room were individuals I recognized from walking the hallways but had never seen in my classes. Also, they were older than me; the majority were seniors. Once I was signed in, one of the students asked me what instrument did I play? When I said piano, he asked me to take a seat at the piano and play something for them. My first instinct was that I was being set up for some kind of prank, but I walked over and sat down on a piano bench I wasn’t sure could support my weight. I wondered for a moment on whether to play a classical piece of music; but thought for sure I would be teased for it. Instead, I played a Beatles’ song. Once I was done playing the several students in the room came over to congratulate me on being their new mascot. AS THE WEEKS PASSED BY, I became friendly with one of the seniors who had helped me a few times with my homework. He was a trumpet player who planned on going to an Ivy League school to become a doctor. Many times, we would just sit in the band office and talk about what was the latest going on in the world. However, he greatly helped me on how to navigate the time I would have at our school. Because of him, I found a safe place I could hide when my gym class was being held outside. This was valuable information to me because of the bullies in class who loved picking on a group of us outside when the gym teacher was not in sight. This senior also explained to me how I should apply to colleges when the time came for me to do so. The one thing I always wanted to know was whether he put in a good word for me because my music teacher became protective of me through the year. Either way I was grateful for their advice and help which I felt the young man in this dramatic movie was feeling as well on the advice given to him. FORCED TO LIVE AT HIS GRANDPARENTS’ house, a young boy finds a father figure at the local bar, to fill in for the father he has never seen. With Ben Affleck (The Way Back, The Accountant) as Uncle Charlie, Tye Sheridan (Ready Player One, Mud) as JR, Lily Rabe (No Reservations, Miss Stevens) as Mom, Christopher Lloyd ( Back to the Future franchise, Call of the Wild) as Grandpa and Rhenzy Feliz (All Together Now, Runaways-TV) as Wesley; this drama set in Long Island, NY was based on the memoir and I have to say, it was a beautiful story. However, it is a story we have seen before; but the difference is the incredible performances within the cast. Ben, Lily and Christopher were outstanding with their acting. The story is touching, providing a good deal of emotions. However, I would have appreciated if the writers had gone deeper into the characters; so, I could have felt more of a connection to them. With the sets and George Clooney’s direction, I enjoyed watching this even, slow paced film. The title of this movie pretty much says it all; this was overall a tender story.
2 ½ stars