A father struggles to protect his daughter from the reality of her mother's drug addiction in Tommy Oliver's powerful, semi-autobiographical debut.
From the earliest days of the crack cocaine epidemic that plagued urban America comes this powerful dispatch, the first feature from writer-director Tommy Oliver. Realized with evocative detail that blurs the distinction between drama and lived experience, 1982 draws on Oliver's upbringing in Philadelphia's West Oak Lane neighbourhood to create a wrenching tale of paternal love and perseverance.
In a measured but blistering performance, Hill Harper plays Tim, a devoted husband to Shenae (Sharon Leal), and proud father of the precocious, ten-year- old Maya (Troi Zee). When Maya observes a widening rift in her parents' relationship, she wonders aloud whether her mother is having an affair. But Shenae has succumbed to a temptation far more pernicious. She soon packs a bag and walks out on her family altogether, only to return periodically in fits of frenzied desperation, scrounging for means to fund her next fix. A devastated Tim, meanwhile, endeavours to shield Maya from the reality of her mother's addiction, and eventually sets out to confront the dangerous local pusher (Wayne Brady) who's been only too happy to prey on his wife's weakness.
If the topic of substance abuse has often
provided rich fodder for domestic drama,
few films have addressed the suffering of
an addict's loved ones as lucidly as this.
But Oliver also displays deep reserves of
empathy and, in Tim, presents a protagonist
possessed of extraordinary dignity
and forbearance. 1982 marks the emergence
of a compassionate and socially
conscious new voice.