Sheldon Candis’ film, Luv has all the makings of a family movie. A dapper looking Common in a lead role. Danny Glover and Charles S. Dutton in supporting roles. And newcomer Michael Rainey Jr. as an adorable, lovable child. However, Luv isn’t quite a family movie. Not even close.
Common plays an ex-con, Vincent, home from an eight year bid, looking to get back on his feet by pursuing a more legal line of work, albeit, using some of his not so legal connections to do so. Rainey Jr. plays his nephew, Woody, eager to have his uncle home, if for nothing else but to provide a male role model in his home.
Things start off well, at grandma’s dinner table where the fellas congregate for breakfast before a few business meetings and of course, school for the younger lad. Once they hit the streets though the tale starts to go another direction. Sparked by a little white lie, Uncle Vincent decides to take Woody on a trip around the city, to see what life is like for a man.
Playing hookie from middle school is nothing compared to the things the day entails, pulled almost from the scenes of HBO’s The Wire, with a few cameos from the cast to boot. It gets real in the Baltimore streets and Woody finds out all about it in this one day with his Uncle.
The characters feel authentic and even though Common, Danny Glover and Dennis Haysbert (the voice of the State Farm commercials) seemingly play characters totally out of their realm, they all do a spectacular job, making it all feel believable. Michael Rainey Jr. has a bright future ahead of him, providing a captivating performance throughout.
The moral here though is simple: Ex-cons often don’t make the best role models.
Luv receives a PAR