"My Brother" is an inner city story of two impoverished boys, of which one is developmentally disabled. Dying of tuberculosis, their mother tries to get her two boys adopted together. Finding that only one can be adopted, ... more »the mother creates an unbreakable bond of love between the boys, hoping that bond will get them through life. Her prayers are answered as the boys overcome impossible odds on their way to adulthood.« less
Debi M. (debi) from BRODHEAD, KY Reviewed on 4/16/2009...
The mentally challenged individuals can help all of us grow mentally, emotionally and spiritually!!
1 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
It Left Me Hanging
D. Johnson | Buena Park, California | 10/08/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"The brothers love for each other, instilled in them by their dying mother is very heart-warming. The acting is very good, especially that done by Vanessa Williams. Her scenes really tug at the heart as she tries to remember all the life lessons she wants to teach her son before she dies. Those were real tearjerker moments. But I still can't figure out why Tatum O'Neal made such a short appearance, never to be seen again. Her and the entire ugly club situation could have just been kept out of the movie entirely and it would not have been missed at all. It was not clear as to what happened to Isaiah and James after Isaiah kidnaps him from the mental facility. They were both too young (I think Isaiah was 10) to be on their own. What happens to Isaiah and the gansters? Does he turn over the package and he's free to go? Although I did enjoy the movie, it left me with too many questions unanswered."
Shamontiel L. Vaughn | Chicago | 10/07/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This movie had the potential to be a great one. The plot is about two brothers (one mentally challenged brother named Isaiah and the other brother's name was James) and a mother who are trying their best to stay together. The problem is that the mother has health issues and will eventually have to let the boys be adopted, but she wants them to be in a home together, specifically for Isaiah because she knows James will take care of him. As with adoption centers now, agencies stick kids in the first place they can get the most money from and with little regard for the kids. Now the boys are all grown up and out on their own, but because of James and Isaiah's past and their mother being poor, they are having financial trouble, and James has decided that since he sucks as a comedian, he's going to find another way to make money. (Note: The guy playing the grown-up version of James was GORGEOUS!) Sounds interesting, right?
Cons: This movie would've worked well if not for several completely unrealistic issues: there were too many holes in the story such as what happened with the package, why did James think his mission was legit, how he managed to stay in the facility that Isaiah was in, when did they get out of the facility that Isaiah was in, why would James think it was safe to leave a certain situation and go a certain place without a certain person, what was the point of the White lady at the club, what was the point of the Black women at the party who bullied the White lady at the club, how James just walked off from a woman beating the mess out of him like she tickled him instead, and viewers never found out with the MAIN point of the movie. This was one of those movies that absolutely needed a test screening and an audience discussion on what needed to be fixed up.
I give the movie three stars for all of its potential, but I can see why Hollywood passed on this one. Cliffhangers in books sometimes work (although it tends to make readers frustrated), but cliffhangers in movies drive me insane (unless it's a horror movie because I expect that). However, there were very powerful scenes within this flick. I turned my head away so I wouldn't start crying during a scene with Isaiah around other mentally challenged people in a facility. I know it had to be scary for both the young man and the grown man playing Isaiah because I was scared for them even though it was just a movie. I have zero motherly instincts, but I've caught myself so many times running to assist a child that I don't even know. Even in movies, I get wrapped up in trying to fix these types of things by researching them to see how realistic they are after the movie is over, and I was horrified after another person watching the movie with me said that happens in real life. So with that kind of emotion, I have to respect the writer and the directors for calling this treatment to our attention."
Touching tale, if a bit rough around the edges
Roland E. Zwick | Valencia, Ca USA | 07/21/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
Isaiah Morton is a not-very-promising, aspiring standup comic who lives in Brooklyn with his developmentally disabled brother, James, whom he has been taking care of ever since the death of their mother a number of years back. Even though he is totally devoted to his younger sibling, Isaiah has recently come to resent the burden James places on his life. Desperate for money, Isaiah foolishly agrees to pull a job for a local gangster, an act that sets into motion a series of events that may well spell the end for both Isaiah and his brother.
With its somewhat meandering narrative structure, "My Brother," written and directed by Anthony Lover, may not always feel as fully formed or thought-out as we would like our movies to be, but its heart is definitely in the right place and it does an effective job exploring the complications and complexities inherent in human relationships. In fact, it may well be this LACK of sophistication and slickness that makes the movie feel less contrived and more convincing in the long run. For instance, Isaiah's brief flirtation with a white woman he meets at a party is intriguing precisely because it doesn't in any way enhance the story or advance the plot. It simply feels like a scene ripped from his life, a nice piece of reality tossed into the mix to make the movie more authentic.
Moreover, there are earnest, heartfelt performances by Nashawn Kearse ("Desperate Housewives"), Vanessa Williams, Christopher Scott, Rodney Henry, Donovan Jennings and even Oscar-winner Tatum O'Neal in key roles.
The best scenes are those set in the past, in which a terminally ill single mother (the lovely Williams) struggles against tremendous odds to instill character and values into her two young boys, values they will desperately need if they are to survive and thrive in a world marked by poverty, racism and prejudice. The movie does veer towards the sentimental at times, but it earns its emotions honestly and forthrightly. And even though the crime drama scenes may not always be entirely convincing, it is as a family drama and a tale of total unconditional love that "My Brother" ultimately touches the heart.
Incidentally, as a companion piece to this film, check out "Two Brothers," a documentary that focuses on Scott and Jennings, both young actors with Down Syndrome, and their very powerful work in "My Brother.""
B. Barrington critical review | Ventura County, CA | 06/25/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Aside from being an excellent tale of resilience and compassion, this movie's depiction of the state mental institution was graphically realistic. When I was an undergrad in a psychology class, we were shown an expose of the horrors of mental institutions in the 60's. What I saw has continued to haunt me and been the stimulating factor that keeps me in my social services profession 20 yrs later. "My Brother" literally lifted those images and portrayed them with such sensitivity and realism. My only hope is that more people see this incredible film and join in stopping such atrocities worldwide."
GREAT STORY - POOR PLOTTING
Universal Writer | Southern Cali | 07/01/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I tend to rent movies that aren't real mainstream. Such was the case with My Brother. The storyline was good but the plotting was very poor to me. There were alot of things left out in this movie and it took forever to get to the "meat" of who Vanessa Williams' was. Tatum O'Neals character could have been left out of the film completely as it served no real purpose. Some of it was unbelievable, but the message was there that they were two brothers and one soul. So when one looks at this film for the message, it delivers - but I wouldn't be in rush to watch it again or run out and purchase it. With just a little more "storyline" it would have been an amazing film."