TIFF ’22: On the Come Up

Sanaa Lathan delivers a powerful and emotional directorial debut with On the Come Up. Based on the novel by Angie Thomas, who also penned the powerful The Hate U Give, On the Come Up is a powerhouse coming of age featuring a strong leading performance by Jamila C. Gray who shines as Bri.

Growing up in the shadow of her late rapper father, Lawless, Bri has a strained relationship with her mother, Jay (Lathan) and dreams of making it big as a rapper, but after she flubs a rap battle, she questions her own talent.

But she soon draws the attention of Supreme (Method Man)who promises her a career if she can deliver exactly what the public expects when it comes to rap, thugs, guns, and violence.

As she navigates the waters of her a blossoming career, romance, life, and who she wants to be she forges new relationships and discovers who she really is. Surrounded by a fun and engaging cast, particularly in the casting of Bri’s best friends played by Micheal Cooper Jr. and Miles Gutierrez–Riley, the film hits all the right notes, while treading over familiar ground.

On the Come Up is a lyrical Rocky and Gray is perfectly on point as Bri, bringing strength and vulnerability to a role that tackles an important message: what image and lyrics are conveyed to listeners versus what is meant, and who the performer actually is, versus their role on stage.

It all comes to impact Bri and her family, shaking her up, making her re-evaluate everything before defining who she is once and for all in a three-round rap battle, set in a boxing ring.

It’s a fun, music-filled film that shows the promise of some big things for Gray and Lathan. Check it out!

On the Come Up screens Friday the 10th, Thursday the 15th, and Sunday the 18th at the Lightbox.

One Comment Add yours

  1. Hi Tim, Do you know if Emma Thompson is coming for her film What’s Love Got to Do With It? Dawn

    Sent from my iPhone


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