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Movie review: 'The Last Fall' paints grim picture of post-NFL life

For a journeyman player who has reached the end of the line, the options are few in scriptwriter Matthew A. Cherry's directorial debut.

October 25, 2012|By Gary Goldstein
  • A scene from the trailer of "Last Fall."
A scene from the trailer of "Last Fall." ( )

"The Last Fall" is a modest, well-performed drama that asks, "What happens when a professional football player can no longer play football?"

If, like the film's Kyle Bishop (a solid Lance Gross), he's a young, less-sought-after athlete short on savings, direction or career options, the situation can prove particularly crushing. But as they say, you can go home again, which is what Kyle, an undrafted free agent, does after being cut from his most recent team.

Kyle's return to L.A., however, is a mixed bag: His divorced mother (Vanessa Bell Calloway) and younger sister (Yaani King) are prickly and distant, his diabetic father (Keith David) is in the hospital, Kyle's car is repossessed and even low-wage jobs are elusive.

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Only his old high school girlfriend, Faith (Nicole Beharie), a wary single mother, provides a possible lifeline as she and Kyle slowly rekindle their relationship.

The story's romantic and emotional elements are effective, but a more focused and detailed look at the business of sports would have significantly upped this movie's game.

In addition, the sensible script, by first-time feature director (and ex-NFL player) Matthew A. Cherry, could have used a bit more subtext and a bit less speechifying.

Still, this is an involving, sympathetic film unafraid to wear its sizable heart on its sleeve.

"The Last Fall." No MPAA rating. Running time: 1 hour, 35 minutes. At the Rave Cinemas Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza 15, Los Angeles.

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