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A father struggles to protect his daughter from the reality of her mother's drug addiction in Tommy Oliver's powerful, semi-autobiographical debut.
From the earliest days of the crack cocaine
epidemic that plagued urban America
comes this powerful dispatch, the first
feature from writer-director Tommy
Oliver. Realized with evocative detail that
blurs the distinction between drama and
lived experience, 1982 draws on Oliver's
upbringing in Philadelphia's West Oak
Lane neighbourhood to create a wrenching
tale of paternal love and perseverance.
In a measured but blistering performance,
Hill Harper plays Tim, a devoted
husband to Shenae (Sharon Leal), and
proud father of the precocious, ten-year-
old Maya (Troi Zee). When Maya
observes a widening rift in her parents'
relationship, she wonders aloud whether
her mother is having an affair. But Shenae
has succumbed to a temptation far more
pernicious. She soon packs a bag and
walks out on her family altogether, only
to return periodically in fits of frenzied
desperation, scrounging for means to
fund her next fix. A devastated Tim,
meanwhile, endeavours to shield Maya
from the reality of her mother's addiction,
and eventually sets out to confront the
dangerous local pusher (Wayne Brady)
who's been only too happy to prey on his
If the topic of substance abuse has often
provided rich fodder for domestic drama,
few films have addressed the suffering of
an addict's loved ones as lucidly as this.
But Oliver also displays deep reserves of
empathy and, in Tim, presents a protagonist
possessed of extraordinary dignity
and forbearance. 1982 marks the emergence
of a compassionate and socially
conscious new voice.
- Tommy Oliver
- Tommy Oliver was born in
Philadelphia and studied economics
and digital media at Carnegie
Mellon University. He has produced
numerous short films and features,
and directed the short films Second
Chances (09) and Adjournment (11).
1982 (13) is his feature debut.