The whole cast is spectacular, bringing us realistic approaches to their individual characters. The younger actors in the film all have emotional pathos as skills on their resume. Some standouts are Keith Stanfield (Straight Outta Compton, Selma), Alex Calloway (Girl of My Dreams), Kevin Hernandez (Get the Gringo), and Kaitlyn Dever (Men, Women, and Children). Keith Stanfield's portrayal of Marcus gives us an image of the mental effects that racial bias can create, mirroring current conflicts that are recurring in the United States. The star-studded older cast also make a prominent appearance as leaders of the pack. John Gallagher Jr. (10 Cloverfield Lane), Rami Malek (Need for Speed, Night at the Museum), and Brie Larson (Room, The Spectacular Now) act as mentors who also have struggles of their own. Larson's portrayal of Grace is one of the best performances I have ever seen on the big screen. Sure her acting in Room is amazing, but this is where it all started! Larson should have won an Oscar for playing such a rich character, yet the academy snubbed this movie altogether.
The soundtrack for the film is also very commendable. Acoustic arpeggios are used to create the dreaminess of daydreaming. Without the music, we would struggle to see into the minds of each of the characters. The music is tonally odd, but perfect for the film which is also somewhat tonally odd. Joel P West (Grandma) balances on a beam between sad and happy, setting the stones for the development of every character along the way to the end of the film. "Brushbloom Glow" is one of the tracks that brings us into a dreamy world full of glowing stories and people. Keith Stanfield's rap lyrics humanize his character, showing us why he develops into what he becomes. In my opinion, this soundtrack is one of the most influential writings in 21st-century cinema.
The Bottom Line: It's a total heart-tearer, but everyone should watch this film and see the types of struggles that those around us struggle through everyday.