Milwaukee Film Festival 2016: Little Boxes
By Devvon Eubanks
Moving across the country can be a daunting task. But when an interracial New York family travels to a predominately white suburban town in Washington State, moving is the least of anyone’s worries. “Little Boxes” is a comedy drama by Rob Meyer focusing on Gina (Melanie Lynskey), Mack (Nelsan Ellis), and their biracial son Clark (Armani Jackson) as they attempt to adjust to small town living and face new challenges in a new community. The film has great production values, with rich colors and scenery, great character detail, and scenes that flow seamlessly. And each character has their own sense of style and personality. However, what is really impressive is the presentation of each family member and how they interact with each other as the movie progresses. Mack, for example, is a smooth, laid-back black father figure who is romantic with Gina and motivates Clark with advice and guidance. However, after seeing some masked tones of racism and going through stressful situations like dealing with the moving company and being mostly alone in the house, the film shows this cool and patient man change into one of quiet desperation and irritation. As the family slowly divides into different aspects of the town, they come back together, and people who were once united in love and respect are now divided by stress, anger, and loss of identity. Through the weakening of this family unit, Meyer shows that peer influence is a powerful aspect of life that can drastically change an individual into something that can be harmfully different and quite unfamiliar. But it also highlights the importance of individuality and uniqueness in an ordinary world, even in spite of the issues a person may face for being different. In that sense, “Little Boxes” shows the viewer how new adventures can test even the most loving family, eventually making them stronger in the end.