TIFF Kids 2017: Our Review of ‘Jeffrey’

Posted in Festival Coverage, Movies, TIFF Kids 2017 by - April 06, 2017
TIFF Kids 2017: Our Review of ‘Jeffrey’

12-year-old Jeffrey may live in Santo Domingo, but he dreams on a global scale. Driven by his goal of making it big as a Reggaeton artist, Jeffrey and his older brother Jeyson compose songs about their lives in their impoverished neighbourhood. Filled with a sound work ethic, one which sees him practicing dance moves with friends in his free time, and a thirst for performing, Jeffrey believes that his catchy rhymes will one day lift raise him out of his destitute circumstances.

Yanillys Perez’s documentary Jeffrey is an exploration of the power of hope in an environment seemingly void of any. Jeffrey clings to his dreams as if it was providing intravenous nourishment to his soul. Though Perez shows moments when Jeffrey can no longer hide the weariness that poverty has wrought on his family and land, it is not long before we see the young man back out hustling on the streets. Regardless of whether he is working as a windshield washer on the busy Dominican Republic streets, or begging for money from sunbathing tourists at a resort, Jeffery refuses to quit until he can provide for his mother and siblings.

The odds may seem stacked against the charming protagonist, but Perez’s film still remains surprisingly hopefully. Just as Jeffrey is unwilling to give up his dream of being a singer, we are unable to let go of our desire that things will ultimately work out for him and his large family.

Jeffrey effectively shows that it is our dreams that not only give us with strength, but often shine the beacon of hope as we sail the rough waters of reality.

Jeffrey is playing on Sat April 8th at 10:15AM; Sun April 16th 11:00 AM; and Thu April 20th 10:15 AM at the TIFF Bell Lightbox

  • Release Date: 4/
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Courtney has been sharing his thoughts on film online since 2006. The founder of Cinema Axis, he frequently celebrates diversity in cinema as one of the co-hosts of the Changing Reels podcast on Modern Superior. A regular on the Regent Radio program Frameline, Courtney has contributed to several publications including Black Girl Nerds, Comix Asylum Magazine and The Grid Does TIFF. He is also a member of both the Canadian Association of Online Film Critics and the Online Film Critics Society.