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Cast: Benjamin Bratt (Traffic, Pinero, Miss Congeniality and Law & Order), Kiowa Gordon (The Twilight Saga), Chloe Rose ("Degrassi: The Next Generation"), introducing Joel Nathan Evans, and Tamara Podemski.

Director: Anita Doron

Genre: Drama

Year: 2013

Rating: N/A

Larry is a Tlicho Indian growing up in the small northern town of Fort Simmer. His tongue, hallucinations and fantasies are hotter than the centre of the sun. At sixteen, he loves heavy metal music, the North and Juliet Hope, the high school “hottie”. When Johnny Beck, a Métis from Hay River, moves to town, Larry is ready for almost anything.

Skinny as spaghetti, nervy and self-deprecating, Larry is an appealing mixture of bravado and vulnerability. His past holds many terrors: an abusive father, and an accident that almost killed him. But through his friendship with Johnny, and his lust for Juliet, he’s ready now to face his memories — and his future. The Lesser Blessed is an eye-opening depiction of what it is to be a young Native man in today’s modern world.

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Based on the novel by Richard Van Camp, "The Lesser Blessed" takes a look at what it is like growing up in Northern Canada. But the story could of taken place anywhere since the main focus is on the youth and the problems and challenges they face growing up. The story focuses on Larry Sole, a teenage native boy, as the film opens we see Larry taking a bath and the scars that are all over his back and neck. This sets the stage for what is to come. Larry spends most of his time at home listening to heavy metal music, when in school he does his best to fit in but the racial tensions and peer pressures make it pretty difficult. If that wasn't enough Larry is also tormented through flashbacks by a violent past.

When he isn't trying to fit in Larry fantasizes about the school hottie, Juliet. The problem with that is her boyfriend, the school jock use to be Larry's best friend but an incident in their past has them left enemies. Larry's life pretty much stays the same until a new kid, Johnny Beck moves to town. Johnnies influence on Larry isn't so good at first as it takes him down a road of booze and drugs but it also causes Larry to face his past and his future.

"The Lesser Blessed" is a realistic and powerful drama that is driven by it's incredible cast, newcomer, Joel Nathan Evans gives a memorable performance as Larry. This is a role that demands a lot and Nathan handles it like an old pro. The rest of the cast which includes Benjamin Bratt (Traffic, Pinero, Miss Congeniality and Law & Order), Kiowa Gordon (The Twilight Saga) and Chloe Rose ("Degrassi: The Next Generation") all give amazing performances as well. Filmed on location in Sudbury, Ontario, Canada, the film's gloomy yet beautiful landscapes make for the perfect backdrop to this moody drama and the cinematography is breathless.

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"The Lesser Blessed" isn't going to be a film for everyone simply because of it's heavy subject matter but if you like a good drama then this is one to see, it's story of trying to fit in, facing the past and tackling the future head on is one that leaves lasting effects. I was left thinking not only about the characters in the film but also about the future of our youth in general. It's refreshing to know that there are still talented filmmakers like Anita Doron around that create meaningful and thought-provoking cinema. "The Lesser Blessed" is a film that deserves a large audience, with all the mediocre films out today it is nice to see a an intelligent, well-written and brilliantly acted film like this. A real gem that evokes all kinds of emotions, do yourself a favor and do not miss seeing it.

I recommend checking out the film's web site HERE. to see when and where it is playing next.

Released by Monterey Media

***** Out Of *****