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Clement Virgo’s stirring drama Brother, which received its world premiere at the 2022 Toronto International Film Festival, is a soulful meditation on wounded masculinity, fractured identity and the power of family.

Elapsing across three timelines, from childhood to adolescence and onto young adulthood, the film explores the fluctuating relationship between two Jamaican-Canadian brothers, united by love but drawn apart by circumstances. Francis (Aaron Pierre, The Underground Railroad), the older sibling, is a pillar of the local community. Everyone – from the little kids riding their bikes in the street to the workers at the corner shop – knows who he is and is charmed by his helpful, easygoing demeanour. Michael (Lamar Johnson, The Hate U Give), by contrast, tries his hardest to be invisible, putting on his headphones and blocking out the world around him. The pair are sometimes close, sometimes estranged, particularly after Francis drops out of high school to pursue a career in music, leaving Michael alone in their previously shared bunk beds. It is only when the brothers become witnesses in a shooting that the course of their lives changes forever.

A resonant adaptation of David Chariandy’s 2017 novel – with shades of Barry Jenkins’ MoonlightBrother ably wrestles with themes of memory, grief and regret. A film which never shirks the stultifying and deadly impact of racism, whilst nevertheless celebrating the joy and love that strengthen resistance.

Read more about Brother on the Journal

Directed by
Runtime 120 Minutes
Release date 15 September 2023
  • Certification: 15