Thursday, June 3, 2010

Toe to Toe DVD

DVD Review by Kam Williams

Headline: Black and White Coeds Lock Lacrosse Sticks in Cross-Cultural Drama

One of the best art house flicks of 2010 is this character-driven affair written and directed by Emily Abt. Set in the Washington, DC area, it revolves around an unlikely love triangle which comes to test the already tenuous bond of friendship forged between a couple of high school classmates, one black, one white, who play on the lacrosse team.
Tosha (Sonequa Martin), who hails from Anacostia, can only afford to attend the exclusive prep school because she’s on a full scholarship. She and her two siblings are being raised in the ‘hood by their doting grandmother (Leslie Uggams) while their overworked single-mom (Dionne Audain) works double shifts to keep a roof over their heads on her security guard salary.
Somehow, Tosha keeps her nose to the grindstone, ignoring the dysfunction at home and the daily taunts coming from jealous girls on the block. They love teasing her mercilessly as she walks down the street to catch the bus for everything from acting white to having once allowed the boys to see her panties for a couple of bucks.
Tosha doesn’t find much relief at school either, where she finds it hard to fit in with the spoiled-rich kids. Because of all of the above, she focuses intently on her goal of being admitted to Princeton, which she sees as her ticket out of the ghetto.
Jesse, at least by outward appearances, has a relatively-easy go of it in life. After all, she lives in a sprawling mansion in the suburbs and has her own sports car. However, because her absentee divorced-mom is always away on business, the unsupervised teen suffers from loneliness and the consequences of a series of poor choices that have led to promiscuity, substance abuse and STDs.
So, Jesse spends the bulk of her free time slumming, since she has a thing for Go-Go music and Jungle Fever for brothers, which explains why she gravitates towards hanging out with Tosha. But the plot thickens when she falls for the charms of a smooth-talking DJ (Silvestre Rasuk) already involved with her friend. At that point, all bets are off, and the two go “Toe to Toe.”
Hell hath no fury like a sister scorned, especially for a wannabe.

Excellent (4 stars)
Running time: 104 Minutes
Distributor: Strand Releasing
DVD Extras: Theatrical trailer, other Strand trailers.

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