LITTLE WOODS gets 6.5/10 Small time crime

Directed by Nia Dacosta

Starring Tessa Thompson, Lily James


If you’re currently feeling anxious over your financial woes, Little Woods is the perfect film to exacerbate those worries. It’s a constantly thrilling and riveting little crime drama, building up the tension as it goes along, though it seemingly evokes the ‘little’ in its title, coming away as a bit too emotionally and thematically limited to be as memorable or effective as it initially seems.

Estranged sisters Ollie (Tessa Thompson) and Deb (Lily James) get back together following their mother’s death, trying to pay off her house, but the price is so high Ollie finds herself forced back into illegally selling prescription pills despite only having eight days left on her probation – talk about bad timing. Their financial situation is only made worse as their plans start to fall beneath them and they have to improvise their way through each set back.

Packing in a good amount of story and character-building, Little Woods is effective with all the tension it continually builds up. The situation for these two girls gets so tightened, their attempts to escape it only leads to even riskier plans for them to get through.

The film’s flaws seem more noticeable when looking back on the girls’ situation. Ollie is doing much of the heavy lifting for herself and her sister, but Deb isn’t as actively involved even though she is bringing up many of the problems – and the film is treating her a little too lightly for it. Both actresses are great in conveying the turmoil and exhaustion of their growingly troublesome predicament, though they are a bit limited by this film that could’ve gone deeper into their pain and the society that helps cultivate it.

There are very timely themes present in Little Woods, but they are merely used to generate further conflict rather than be importantly explored. This makes for a drama-thriller that is enjoyable to watch, but one that won’t leave much of a lasting effect.


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