The film opens with Agnes “Apple” Bailey is cutting her long hair with scissors as she prepares for what is coming. She is a teenager living with her abusive mom in a poor motel- and she is going to escape to find her father. Her one clue to a parentage is the one letter he once sent her. The actress Rosario Dawson plays Apple’s mother. Rosario Dawson gives the role a dramatic edge and slowly turns her performance up to eleven as the story progresses.
Vanessa Hudgens plays Apple Bailey and she is nearly unrecognizable. This is a surprising dramatic overture for Vanessa Hudgens who is better known for such saccharine Disney fare such as “High School Musical,” family movies like “Journey 2: Mysterious Island,” and the upcoming “Great Migration” and upscale grindhouse films such as “Sucker Punch,” “Machete Kills,” and presumably the upcoming “Kitchen Sink.” Vanessa Hudgens taking this powerfully empathic and dramatic role in this film will empower her career.
This straightforward and occasionally documentary style film combines both the themes of the hope of creating your own family and the threats of exploitation and poverty. These are themes in the works of Ron Krauss. The style of the film occasionally is over-reliant on intercutting close-ups such as with the initial scenes between James Earl Jones and Vanessa Hudgens but fortunately Ron lets the characters interact in the same space for most scenes. From the heartwarming “Puppies for Sale” (1998) to the heartbreaking “Amerixica” (2010) Ron gives an empathic perspective about human life even under terrible conditions. This film with its emphasis on themes such as family and poverty has some similarities “The Blind Side” however for originality and empathy there are few if any films like it.
Apple leaves the room she shares with her mother to use the telephone to make an important call. June Bailey forces her way into the phone booth while Apple escapes to the taxi now outside. Apple closes the door of the taxi and locks it against her mother. June again hammers against the Taxi and hurls verbal abuse against her daughter in an attempt to get her to come back. However Apple is adamant in escaping the abusive world of her mother to hopefully find shelter with the world of her father.
The taxi she escapes in soon stops and the driver abandons her by the side of the road and kicks her as Apple has insufficient funds for the complete trip. She attempts to get behind the wheel of the Taxi and drive herself away but she fails. For now she must walk on foot or use alternative means of transportation to find her father.
Apple after enormous effort finds the house of her father. It is an elegant upper class house however she cannot find the way inside. The police arrive to restrain and handcuff her and they confine her in their patrol car. Her father Tom arrives and the police ask him if he knows who she is- and Tom states he does know her.
Brendan Fraser (The Mummy Returns) plays Tom. The...