Urban Hymn | Chicago Reader

Urban Hymn

114 minutes 2015

A 17-year-old London delinquent (Letitia Wright) is torn between her best friend (Isabella Laughland), who gets her into trouble at their state-run home for children, and their new caseworker (Shirley Henderson), who hears the protagonist sing and encourages her to join a community choir. The platonic love triangle is interesting, but Wright and Henderson seem flat and unnatural alongside Laughland, a real powerhouse. What begins as a gritty, documentary-style dive into the young women's world—they're introduced as looters during the 2011 Tottenham riots—quickly devolves into a Lifetime movie, with a saintly white woman motivating a poor black kid to use her gift. Michael Caton-Jones (This Boy's Life) directed this 2015 British drama.

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