Brother (2023)

Brother (2023)

A masterful tale about two brothers raised by a single immigrant mother

The Very Best



Canada, United States of America
English, French
Drama, Mystery, Romance
Aaron Pierre, Anthony Grant, Ashleigh Rains
120 min

What it's about

In the diverse district of Scarborough in Canada, a single mother from Jamaica raises her two children, Francis (Aaron Pierre) and Micahel (Lamar Johnson), as best she can.

The take

Beautifully staged, vibrantly colored, and powerfully acted, Brother is an instant classic of a film. It tracks three timelines: Francis and Michael’s childhood, their coming of age in high school, and the present day, where we learn that Francis has long been dead, although we don’t find out how till much later in the movie. The suspense hangs in the air, but the build-up to the reveal is just as tense and filled with moments that are alternately lovely and heartbreaking. Largely, the film is about the immigrant experience and Blackhood, about how those unique experiences intertwine to define a person’s life, and so there is anger, resistance, and meaningful commentary to be found here. But Brother is also deeply intimate. As Francis and Michael come of age, they long for role models and true love, and through those ups and downs, they always come back to one another, each one the other’s best friend. Brother tackles heavy themes, but it never veers into melodramatic territory. Instead, it’s a strong, self-assured piece of work that will only find more love and acclaim in the future. 

What stands out

It shares many similarities to seminal films like Boyz n the Hood, Moonlight, and Fruitvale Station. Like them, Brother feels both urgent and timeless, universal and personal; their passion comes through and is palpable in the smallest details. That said, Brother is also its own story. The movie is based on the best-selling novel of the same name by David Chariandy, but director Clement Virgo adds his special and personal touches to it, making it as authentic and powerful as it is.

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