Indiefest: Uproar (2023) PG-13   Uproar is about Josh (Julian Dennison), a seventeen-year-old who is just trying to keep his head down and survive high school as an Aboriginal native surrounded by white kids in his New Zealand hometown. Talked into taking drama from one of his teachers (Rhys Darby), his life opens up, and he is suddenly aware that the world needs his views and presence. Julian Dennison was in one of my favorite surprise films of the past ten years, the Taika Waititi comedy adventure Hunt for the Wilderpeople (2016), where Dennison and Sam Neil play a son and foster father who get lost in the New Zealand wilderness. Dennison spreads his magic again, as Josh, a teen attending a rich, private school only because his brother and father were ruby stars at the school. Josh is constantly picked on and is most comfortable spending his time either in the library or on a paper route, where he gets help from his best friend, a teen girl named Grace (Jada Fa’atui). It’s the 80s and a time of unrest in New Zealand as the South African rugby team, a symbol of the ongoing apartheid in that country, comes to New Zealand, and protests erupt throughout the country. Josh, at first, tries to stay in the background, convinced that he will never do anything special, but he soon learns, through his friends, his brother, and a teacher, that he has talent and a skill that will bring people together. It’s Josh’s time to leave the background and make some noise. Uproar is a beautiful and funny film that is a joy to watch, and Dennison is an incredible talent who brings Josh to life.   My Rating: I Would Pay to See it Again  Uproar Website  Now playing in theaters.

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