May 29, 2023

A Thousand and One was one of our most anticipated films at Sundance this past January. The film from A.V Rockwell star Teyana Taylor as a woman who kidnaps her son from the foster care system. We then see their struggles over the years as they try to balance surviving and also Inez giving her son a better life in the ever changing New York system. A Thousand and One does a great job at balancing both the story of Inez and Terry while at the same time raising issues that plagued New York in the 90’s throughout the early 2000’s. This includes the Giuliani years which saw an increase in stop and frisk as well as the Bloomberg era and gentrification.

Teyana Taylor is a stand out as she navigates the complex character of Inez who has been failed many times in her life. A.V Rockwell set out to make a tale of the New York she grew up in. This meant she wanted somebody who really could vibe with that and Teyana Taylor was perfect for it. We really do see Teyana is able to channel that energy she needs to come off authentic because she is a New York native. The fact that this is also her first leading role is something that is outstanding to see as she has so much range throughout. It’s honestly incredible and would definitely not be surprised to hear Oscar conversation surrounding this role.

Teyana Taylor stars as “Inez de la Paz” in writer/director A.V. Rockwell’s A THOUSAND AND ONE

The backdrop being New York is captured perfectly through time transitions using old stock footage and tv segments. It really helps you understand not only what changes the city was going though but what our characters dealt with. This added more weight to their story and does a great job at informing the audience. I can’t talk about the story in depth since I don’t want to give spoilers but I will say it’s one that pulled our heart strings. A.V Rockwell’s positioning of the camera also delivers strong statements with closeups and shots that hold on longer than expected. The dialogue scenes are the most heavy hitting ones and really have the actors showcasing some emotional weight.

Overall we really enjoyed A Thousand and One for its raw and heartfelt story of a mother doing whatever it takes for their son. The film for the most part was strong and carried by Taylor. I do however believe that the third act although the one that should have been the heaviest felt the weakest. In the end it felt rushed and all the characters seemed to be just trying to wrap things up as quick as possible. I however still recommend the film to all those seeking something that will make you feel and appreciate what happens with a good script and talented actors.

We give A Thousand and One a 4/5 for its impactful story and incredible performances especially Teyana Taylor.

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