Friday, June 2, 2017

Movie Review: Urban Hymn

Urban Hymn, directed by Michael Caton-Jones, is a London-based drama starring Letitia Wright (Black Panther), Shirley Henderson (Harry Potter), and Isabella Laughland (Harry Potter). The film takes place just after the "England Riots" and follows Jamie (Wright) and Leanne (Laughland), two troubled teens living in a children's home. The film also focuses on Kate (Henderson), a newly appointed social worker at Alpha House whose personal tragedy has led her to changing careers in order to help at-risk youth.

At first, Kate is surprised by the level of violence she encounters. The children of the house, especially Leanne, can be physically and verbally abusive to each other and strangers alike. Kate takes an interest in Jamie upon hearing her sing along to soul music. Impressed by her talent and finally finding a way to connect with this girl, Kate invites her to join her community choir one night for rehearsal.

From there, Jamie starts to find herself torn between two worlds. She's accepted as one of their own in the choir and starts receiving scholarships. On the flip side, she continues to be drawn back to her old ways by an increasingly violent and jealous Leanne.

The film's dialogue can sometimes be a little too cliché and clunky. It can also sometimes slide frustratingly close into Lifetime drama territory. Despite that, the three main actresses each give strong performances. Wright, whose upcoming work includes Black Panther and Ready Player One, is a strong lead and any missteps the film may make, her performance keeps the film interesting from beginning to end.

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