Uproar Movie Review

This film, set in 1984, begins by introducing us to the lovely Josh, a high school student who has VHS copies (that he probably recorded off the television) of Jaws, Dog Day Afternoon, Bladerunner, and others. ​


He clearly loves films. Romeo & Juliet is one of those others who tell us that he’s most likely intelligent, gentle, open, honest, and curious about life. You see a “Free Nelson Mandela!” poster on his bedroom wall that says even more about the young man. He stands up for justice and civil liberty. Josh is a good kid who gets picked on a lot, making school life difficult. He has an older brother named Jamie, who graduated from school not long ago. He was injured playing Rugby, which has depressed him to the degree that he barely leaves the couch.


This story takes place in New Zealand. The boys, Josh (Julian Dennison) and Jamie (James Rolleston), are Maori and have a English born mother played by Minni Driver. Their father died seven years ago, and she works all the time to make ends meet but isn’t happy. She takes most of her problems out on Josh, the easier target of the two.


People in this country love their football. Jamie played, and Josh wants to play. He wants to be a “first fifteen.” I had to look that one up. It means the “preferred starting line-up of a team.” While a match was going on, people were marching and protesting the Rugby game against South Africa because South Africa legalized racism in their country.


The Māori people of New Zealand had it bad enough there, and some New Zealanders wanted to make it clear they didn’t appreciate that nor this team coming to play. But the people in the stands didn’t welcome the politics. They wanted to see their players in the match and those activists to shut up about everything. The movie covers this a lot, which seems appropriate given the politics going on today.


Josh agrees with the protestors but generally keeps his mouth shut. Then, something special happens when he does a reading in an “amateur drama class” he joined because of his teacher Brother Madigan (Rhys Darby) and friend Grace’s urging. Madigan thinks Josh a natural who should do more with his talent. Once he sees more from the boy, he believes he should also audition for the National Institute of the Performing Arts. He’s both frightened and excited.


Sadly, this comes at the same time his brother gets an offer to co-coach the school’s Rugby team, promising Josh a spot as a first fifteen. Hearing of the drama school, his mother urges him to play on the team so they’ll look after him as they always have his brother. Essentially, he’ll practically be guaranteed a job somewhere if nothing else in life comes along. Not only that, but has he thought of who’s going to pay for this art school? Great. Now, Josh has a significant life decision to make.

He finds an old picture of his mom. He asks her about it and finds out she was in a singing group that went nowhere. This explains some of her miserable attitude.


Mabelle Dennison, who plays Tui, is a native. She tells a group of youngsters, including Josh and Grace, that there’s racism in their government against brown and black people. Tui wants them to see what is really happening in the world. She tells them about the 3.4 million acres the Crown (Great Britain) promised to put away for them when the natives sold them the land. They only returned 30,000 of those acres. Within eighty years, less than two thousand people lived on their own land. This information lends so much to the film.


This is poignant storytelling about real struggles that happened in the past and are happening now. The point is for people to pay attention, and the progression within the narrative by Hamish Bennett and Sonia Whiteman really hits hard. The film is entertaining, the title appropriate, and the acting ensemble is fabulous. At no time will you feel your time could be better spent. Oh! If you grew up in the 1980’s, you’ll love this soundtrack.



Directed by: Paul Middleditch, Hamish Bennett
Written by: Hamish Bennett, Sonia Whiteman

Starring: Julian Dennison, Rhys Darby, Minnie Driver, James Rolleston, Erana James,

Run Time: 1h 50min
Rated: PG-13
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Sports

Distributed by: Blue Fox Entertainment



tmc.io contributor: ShariK.Green tmc
I'm the Sr. Film Writer and Community Manager for tmc.io. I write, direct and produce short films with my production company, Good Stew Productions. Though it's difficult to answer this question when asked, I'd say my favorite movie is “The Big Chill.” I enjoy photography, poetry, and hiking and I adore animals, especially elephants. I live in Arizona and feel it's an outstanding and inspirational place to live.

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