Damilola, Our Loved Boy
Damilola, Our Loved Boy opens with a 10-year-old boy, who loves Manchester United and playing sports, excitedly embarking on a plane, ready for his first trip to Great Britain. Great Britain, to him, a great, mythical land. A place where the wonders of the world await him. Only, Great Britain didn't offer him the greatness he deserved. Levi David Addai's adaptation of Damilola Taylor's tragic death reminds us of the implications of the senseless violence that is still happening today.
But what really causes an emotional punch is the powerful and valiant performances from Wunmi Mosaku and Babou Cessay. Mosaku delivers a heartbreaking performance as Gloria Taylor. Despite tragically losing her son, Mosaku emotes strength and composer in this time of devastation, making her performance even more cutting. Her ability to bring capture Gloria's ability to remain strong for her family, despite knowing her heart has been ripped out, makes this performance one of the best from 2016.
Cessay gives a similarly striking performance, but instead of having strength and composer, he lets the tragedy of Damilola's death overcome him. Cessay's emotional performance, particularly in the scene when the family visits the murder site, is harrowing, but in a way beautiful. Both Mosaku and Cessay capture the destruction and devastation senseless violence has on a family. They capture the broken souls of these two parents, but they also capture a sense of healing.
Newcomer Sammy Kamara also deserves a mention for his playful performance as Damilola. Kamara depicts the fun, lively, and care-free spirit of Damilola. His performance can't help but bring a smile to your face. You absolutely fall in love with the charming, sometimes mischievous, child, which makes his death even more impactful.
Damilola, Our Loved Boy is a powerful, provoking, relevant drama that speaks to today's Britain.