Foster Boy is one of those movies that deserves a bigger audience than it’s going to get. Produced by Shaquille O’Neal (Yes that Shaquille O’Neal) and starring Matthew Modine (Full Metal Jacket, Stranger Things), Shane Paul McGhie (After We Collided) and Louis Gosset Jr. (Officer & A Gentleman, Iron Eagle), Foster Boy is a hard hitting legal drama from Director Youssef Delara that is based on true life experiences and cases that writer Jay Paul Deratany worked on and is a damming indictment of the for-profit foster care business.
Jamal (Mcghie) has been bounced from one foster care home to another and now after facing a brush with the law, he brings a complaint to the court over abuse he suffered during his younger years and that the private company that he was assigned to knew about it and kept it quiet just so they didn’t lose out on money they received for homing him each time.
Michael Trainer (Modine) is a high flying corporate lawyer that is assigned to Jamal’s pro bono case by Judge George Taylor (Louis Gosset Jr.) and the two initially clash, however as the underbelly of the case comes to light and the company starts to put pressure on Trainers professional and personal life, the more he realises that what they are dealing with is bigger than the both of them.
Foster Boy is the antithesis of the sugary coated warmness of the Mark Wahlberg/Rose Byrne movie Instant Family. Pulling no punches, it reveals from true life stories what can go wrong in a private system left to it’s own devices. With a feeling of a cross between Sleepers and A Time To Kill the cast simpler simmer and eventually explode across the screen as the court room battle comes to a head. In particular Shane Paul McGhie is outstanding as the troubled teen suffering with PTSD from his experiences who puts pen to paper and writes out his frustrations and sufferings in a pile of journals. Louis Gosset Jr. absolutely draws you in as the court judge despite not having too much screen time, he acts as our narrator for all intents purposes of the film and you can feel Sgt. Foley underneath the surface waiting to escape.
The film isn’t without it’s contrivances however, Jamal being placed in a overnight cell with his former abuser and the police at the cells being slipped a few dollars to allow Jamal and his friends to confront him, seem even for this a little far fetched. The courtroom battle at the end seems somewhat rushed, but none the less such the air crowd pleasing, but the waste of Amy Brenneman as Modine’s estranged wife is nothing short of criminal.
However, casting the complaints about the ‘white saviour’ plotting aside, this is a powerful and times moving film that scores highly on all points and will keep you gripped until the end credits. This could easily be confused for a John Grisham movie and it’s as good and if not better than some of those movies. Foster Boy needs to get a wider audience as it’s a brilliant, powerful, upsetting but triumphant courtroom drama and one you would do well to check out.
Foster Boy will be available on Digital Download from 1st March and can be bought here