Pure | Chicago Reader

Pure

Set in ratty East London, this opens with a heartwarming scene of a ten-year-old boy (Harry Eden) bringing his single mother (Molly Parker) breakfast in bed—but her breakfast, laid out on a bed tray, is a syringe of heroin. This delicate mix of poignance and despair runs all through this 2002 British drama, as the tough-minded child struggles to come to terms with his mother's addiction and mom eventually has to choose between maintaining her habit and keeping custody of her two boys. A small but achingly authentic piece of kitchen-sink realism, this might never have made it across the pond without babe du jour Keira Knightley, excellent in a supporting role as a smacked-out waitress. But the real wonder is Parker; her vulnerability and wraithlike beauty are devastating. Gillies MacKinnon (Small Faces, Hideous Kinky) directed. 96 min.

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