Life and Nothing More

2018-07-20 07:04


Standing on the edge of adulthood, Andrew yearns to find his purpose as a young African-American in today's America. With his mother longing to find more to her life then parenting, Andrew is forced to take on the mounting pressure of family responsibility. His search for connection with an absent father, leads him to a dangerous crossroads.


Director Antonio Mendez Esparza foregoes conventional storytelling and film-making norms in his deeply moving drama about the everyday struggles of a low income African-American family.

Life and Nothing More never feels like a movie instead it is like the viewer is witnessing the lives of a family unfold.
The film centres on the family dynamics of single mother Regina (Regina Williams), her 14-year-old son Andrew (Andrew Bleechington) and her 3-year-old daughter Ry’nesia (Ry’nesia Chambers).

Regina and Andrew are disconnected as they face both internal and external struggles of their own.

The first part of the film focuses on Andrew - a teenage boy trying to figure out where he belongs in the world. He yearns for the guidance of a father, but his is incarcerated. Andrew tethers on the brink of the same fate as he has a brush with the law and is constantly making choices that can jeopardise his future. 

In the second part of the film we get taken into Regina’s world. She works a low-income job at a diner and is only concerned with getting by - Putting food on the table and seeing that her kids are taken care of. While she takes care of their material needs, she isn’t really present emotionally and takes out a lot of her frustrations on Andrew.

She meets Robert (Robert Williams) at the diner and although she first resists his advances she eventually caves. We never see how their relationship progresses but in no time, he is living with them.

From there on tensions arise between Andrew, Robert and Regina that lead to some big plot developments.  

While this film is a slow burn its strength lies in how the story is told and the cast.

The actors are non-professionals, the dialogue itself is minimal and lends more towards improvisation which makes the characters authentic.

There is also no background music to fill space, but the silence complements the overall realistic tone of the film.

 It explores a number of themes prevalent to the black experience in the U.S. like: Privilege, racism and socio-economic factors.

Life and Nothing More tells a nuanced story of real-life situations of the marginalised in society. 

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