little woods trailer

When rising filmmaker Nia DaCosta was announced as the director of the buzzy Jordan Peele-produced Candyman reboot, it might have been odd to some that she didn’t have one feature film under her belt. But she did, and it’s finally making its way to theaters. DaCosta’s dazzling directorial debut, Little Woods, a neo-Western starring Tessa Thompson and Lily James in powerful lead performances as two sisters in an economically depressed North Dakotan town who are on the verge of losing their mother’s home. See the first Little Woods trailer below.

Little Woods Trailer

Thompson stars as Ollie, a former drug runner attempting to start a new life when her sister Deb (James) goes to for help with her hungry child and unplanned pregnancy. Realizing that they can’t afford a pregnancy on top of the mortgage for their recently passed mother’s home, they hatch a scheme for Ollie to return to pushing pills in order to get enough money to get Deb an abortion and save their house.

I saw Little Woods at Tribeca last year, where DaCosta won the 2018 Nora Ephron Award, and it shot to the top of the films I saw at the film festival. A haunting neo-Western that plays like a female-driven Hell or High Water, I called Little Woods in my review a “potent slow-burning thriller that taps into the economic devastation that has wracked middle America for the past few decades.” And that may be why it took so long for Little Woods to come to theaters. As a film that centers around an abortion plot and is set to the backdrop of the opioid, Little Woods is complicated, difficult, and ultimately challenging story to swallow. It’s also incredibly now, and feels more important than ever.

Here is the official synopsis for Little Woods:

Ollie (Tessa Thompson) is a reformed drug runner in an economically depressed small town in North Dakota, who was caught coming back from Canada with medicine for her terminally ill mother and has been toeing the line ever since. After her mother dies, Ollie’s sister Deb (Lily James) shows up on her doorstep with a hungry child and an unplanned pregnancy. Ollie can only see one viable option: quickly raise money to pay back the bank and hold onto their mother’s home, so Deb can raise her family safely away from her abusive ex. But to do that, she’ll need to return to the dangerous way of life she thought she’d left behind.

Little Woods opens in select cities on March 19, 2019.

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