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A THOUSAND AND ONE: 2023 (Streaming available with a subscription on Amazon Prime Video or for rental on Vudu or Apple TV) A Thousand and One offers a poignant New York story of survival. Set in the 1990s and 2000s, it follows a single mother, Inez, who decides to take a boy out of the foster care system and raise him as her son. The two struggle with life as they set out to reclaim their sense of home, identity, and stability in a rapidly changing New York City. A Thousand and One is an American drama written and directed by A. V. Rockwell in her feature directorial debut. It premiered at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival and won the Grand Jury Prize. Critics loved it as evidenced by an impressive 97% on the Rotten Tomato’s Tomatometer based on 124 reviews. The film also received critical acclaim and was named one of the top ten independent films of 2023 by the National Board of Review. A word about the film’s title: A Thousand and One was the address of their apartment (with a missing number 10 01) that they lived in for years. It also refers to the never-ending obstacles Inez had to overcome in her efforts to give her son, Terry, a better life than she had. It’s not a coincidence that the movie is set in the era of Mayor Rudy Giuliani who would go on to be known nationally because of his racism. He was also the architect for the controversial law-and-order race-based “stop-and-frisk policies.” The movie was not based on a single true story, but it will be all too familiar for those who grew up black and poor in a big city. It would be hard to deny that the story would have a greater emotional impact on someone with that unfortunate background, but it also gives a thought-provoking perspective on poverty that even the luckiest among us could learn from. Barbara and I were especially impressed with the work of Teyana Taylor who played Inez. Taylor is a singer-dancer-turned thespian. This was her first leading role in film and I hope it turns out to be her breakout performance. A Thousand and One was not an easy movie to summarize and it is not easy to grade. GRADE A-    Usually when I grade a film A, I am not in doubt. I have been entertained and/or emotionally moved. With this film, I can’t claim to have been entertained and I fear that some of our readers will find it a difficult movie to watch. Barbara grades it lower than I did. GRADES A-/B 

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