In hindsight, I probably shouldn’t have watched Little Woods on a Friday evening. The drama/thriller was a lot heavier than I would normally go see after a long week but then again I’m glad I did anyway. This debut film by Nia DaCosta is fantastic in so many ways!
The film centers around Ollie (Tessa Thompson) and Deb (Lily James), estranged sisters who find themselves in tricky situations that I think a lot of people can relate to on some level.
Ollie is barely getting by in Little Woods, a small town in North Dakota known for being an economically depressed fracking town. She used to illegal run prescription pills over the Canadian border, but has a real opportunity to change her life around. Ollie knows she’s too smart for this kind of life, but as the film depicts with such realism, getting out of a toxic cycle isn’t as easy as it sounds. Especially when your estranged sister comes back into your life, a kid, an unplanned pregnancy, deadbeat ex and all. With no money to support a pregnancy, let alone have a kid, a house facing foreclosure unless the mortgage is paid within a week, the two find themselves in quite the conundrum.
Little Woods is an emotional drama/thriller that is timely in the wake of news like Alabama’s recent abortion ban and how the ones affected most by that are women in low socio economic areas. Sure, it wasn’t the lighthearted film I was thinking about for a Friday night, but it is a film that needs to be seen nonetheless.
The characters were written with such humanity and grace that throughout the film’s one hour and forty-five minute runtime, I forgot that Tessa Thompson and Lily James were actors playing roles. They disappeared into Ollie and Deb, the two sisters this film centers around. There was a particular line in the film that really stood out to me:
“You don’t hope. You do.”
And that is a sentiment most of us can attest to at some point in our lives. Little Woods is a painful reminder of the kind of world we live in nowadays and is a film that will stay with me for a long time.