Jared Moshe explores the classic science fiction trope in his latest film, Aporia from Well Go USA. Since losing her husband Mal (Edi Gathegi) in a drunk-driving incident, Sophie (Judy Greer) has struggled to manage crippling grief, a full-time job, and the demands of parenting her devastated teenage daughter (Faithe Herman).
I’m A Virgo puts an eccentric spin on the coming of age tale
The acclaimed filmmaker Boots Riley, known for his exceptional work on “Sorry To Bother You” in 2018, is back in an exciting new project for Prime Video titled I’m A Virgo. The series follows the journey of a young man named Cootie (Jharrel Jerome), who, at 13 feet tall, has never once set foot outside his sheltered existence world. As he embarks on this adventure, he encounters new friends, experiences love, confronts uncomfortable situations, and meets the crime fighter, The Hero (Walton Goggins). This heartwarming coming-of-age tale is guaranteed to delight viewers.
Episode 1 sets up the tone of the series organically. We see the aftermath of Cootie’s birth and his unique size as his adoptive mother, Lafrancine (Carmen Ejogo), holds him. Realizing the world isn’t ready for Cootie, Lafrancine and her husband Martisse (Mike Epps) decide to raise him secretly. One thing I credit Riley for in Episode 1 is avoiding going for easy gags.
Instead, Riley shows Lafrancine and Martisse as new parents dealing with all the same struggles, except their son is 13 feet tall. Eventually, Cootie gets his own space, but like most young men, he wants “more.” By Episode 2, Cootie
Emmy winner Jerome fully taps into the emotions of Cootie, a book-smart young man who lacks life skills and street smarts. By the second episode, when Cootie meets revolutionary teens Scat (Allius Barnes), Felix (Brett Gray), and Jones (Kara Young), I was fully engaged in the show. Riley easily paints an authentic portrait of the 2023 teen venturing into topics such as hanging out, first love, and first jobs. All three young actors worked well with Jerome and had a believable friendship.
Epps and Ejogo, who previously displayed natural chemistry in the Sparkle remake, are just as good here. Although Epps’s stand-up comedy may sometimes be inconsistent, his comedic timing in movies and TV shows is consistently on point. Ejogo has a natural aura, no what role she’s in. Riley gives them a solid arc and slowly reveals layers to the secrets their characters are hiding from the viewing audience and their adoptive son. As for Goggins, he is just a scene-stealer.
One of the most surprising things about the show is that Riley avoided using CGI for Cootie, opting for miniatures and puppets, giving the show authenticity. Riley acknowledges that his style may not appeal to everyone, but those open to it will discover that I’m A Virgo provides a distinctive and unconventional experience featuring captivating performances from the cast.
Final Grade: B+
I’m A Virgo is available to stream on Prime Video on Friday, June 23rd.
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