In Where Children Play, a woman named Bellissima who goes by Belle gets told that her mother has died and her father needs care. Belle has been living in Savannah, Georgia since running away from home as a young adult. Her aunt tracks her down and tells her the news, and what Belle finds when she returns home digs up long suppressed memories of abuse and neglect. She is then forced to choose between facing her demons or fleeing again.
This film is more than just another family drama that shows the struggles of people dealing with a broken home. Teyonah Parris delivers a very strong performance as Bellissima and shows great ability by coming across as sincere in portraying her character. Many of the themes present here deal with difficult subject matter ranging from physical, mental and sexual abuse to dealing with family responsibilities and caring for others in need.
Early in the movie, Belle is working to get by in Georgia when her aunt shows up at her hotel job one day to tell her that her mother has died. When she returns to her parents home in California, Belle is confronted with her past and must deal with caring for her now handicapped father. She begins to remember the difficult upbringing she had and starts seeing visions of her deceased sister and mother. An old friend named Jeremy enters the picture and tries to help Belle with her problems, but the situation soon becomes overwhelming.
Where Children Play deals with a lot of difficult issues that address troubled youth and dysfunctional and abusive families. The struggles that result in Teyonah Parris’ character leaving her parents may well hit home for many viewers. Director Leila Djansi handles the drama and difficult scenes with maturity and honesty. Solid performances from Brian White and Macy Gray help ground the film and make Where Children Play a family drama worth seeing.
Out of a Possible 5 Stars