The Inevitable Defeat of Mister & Pete

Rated 3.0

A young boy (Skylan Brooks) has to fend for himself in the Brooklyn projects when his junkie mother (Jennifer Hudson) goes to jail—or rather, he fends for himself and a neighbor kid (Ethan Dizon), whose own mother has gone similarly missing. Written by Michael Starrbury and directed by George Tillman Jr., this low-key, character-driven drama made the festival rounds for most of the year before finally finding limited release. Now, it deserves a wider audience. Starrbury's script is hazy on showing the passage of time—it's a surprise to hear how long the boys have been on their own—but deft at revealing telling details. Tillman's direction is smooth, getting well-nuanced performances from his two young leads. Anthony Mackie (as a local pimp) and Jeffrey Wright (a homeless Gulf War vet) add nice cameos.