My Last Year with the Nuns
directed by Bret Fetzer
starring Matt Smith
You are stuck growing up in whatever era you are born into, and there’s no worth in crying over the ones you missed. Comedian Matt Smith gives a humorous and entertaining look at his child hood in the Capitol Hill district of Seattle. Life revolved around Saint Joseph’s Church and the Paper Shack, the place all the local boys picked up newspapers for their delivery routes. Neighborhood boundaries were strong, the Shack was out of St Joseph’s control, and here he learned that black kids weren’t any different: their parents just couldn’t get loans to buy houses on the Catholic side of the Red Line. Life revolved around the Shack, lugies, cigarettes, and the hope of making out or at least seeing a nudie magazine.
Smith’s dead pan style suits the material well; his sort of monologue would do well in a theater as well as it does here on film. Director Bret Fetzer uses fast cuts and weird juxtapositions to keep things flowing visually; the stories are broken in to short segments with clear endings keeping the narrative flow from grinding down. He reports minor crimes, minor heroism and the experiences we all must go through to challenging the order we were pushed into and establish our own. Here the nuns and priests are not evil abusers; while strict they have their charges best interest in mind and are disappointed when the children fail. This is the American Experience writ small, and we all would like to believe it’s how we grew up.
This film is part of the 2015 Florida Film Festival www.floridafilmfestival.com