TIFF Kids 2017: Our Review of ‘On Wheels’

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

TIFF Kids takes us to Brazil in showing Mauro D’Addio’s feature film On Wheels. This shows us what makes Brazilian childhood equally distinct and universal. There’s the typical things we expect in a film from that part of the world. We see hot summer days where boys play soccer games. But one of those boys will grow up differently from the others.

A car hits Lucas (Cauã Martins). That accident confines him to a wheelchair, presumably for the rest of his life. But despite of what we assume about developing countries and accessibility issues he’s doing relatively fine. And that partly because of the help he gets from those around him. The film depicts the most benevolent adult characters in this festival.

But the film’s central relationship is between him and a classmate, 12-year-old Lais (Laa Boldorini), who has her own issues. She’s also a girl living with a single mom who wants to find her father. It’s a plot point that I’ve already seen at this year’s festival. But this time it develops into a buddy road film in rural Brazil.

The film is predictable. The actors do their best, an enjoyable presence capturing a local cadence I can listen to for hours. It doesn’t know how give a fresh perspective towards the ignorance children have about their own differently abled peers. In general, it doesn’t give its characters interesting enough of a script for them to develop a chemistry.

On Wheels‘ short running time also gives a sense that the journey doesn’t affect their characters much. But despite that major shortcoming, it does matter where the journey is taking place. Any director can’t mess us depicting the beautiful landscapes of Brazil and the film does just that. D’Addio shows an active environment I can’t get enough of.

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While Paolo Kagaoan is not taking long walks in shrubbed areas, he occasionally watch movies and write about them. His credentials are as follows: he has a double major in English and Art History. This means that, for example, he will gush at the art direction in the Amityville house and will want to live there, which is a terrible idea because that house has ghosts. Follow him @paolokagaoan on Instagram but not while you’re working.