Review: ‘The Outside Story’ captures New York City in spirit and charm.

THE OUTSIDE STORY

Synopsis

Brian Tyree Henry takes on his first big screen lead role as Charles Young, a broken-hearted  video editor. Perceiving a betrayal of trust as a sign his girlfriend Isha (Sonequa Martin-Green)  is leaving him, Charles preemptively blows up his relationship and sequesters himself at home.  The fates do not comply and Charles locks himself out of his apartment. Stumbling into a transformational, timely odyssey exploring his community, Charles meets a dynamic ensemble of previously avoided neighbors (including Sunita Mani, Olivia Edward and Asia Kate Dillon) who show him everyone’s got issues and it never helps to keep them all locked up.

The Outside Story is a quintessential New York City one, where people of all backgrounds, ages, and beliefs intersect in one single day. If you’ve ever lived in the city, the statistical possibility that you’ve locked yourself out of your apartment is very high. I’ve definitely done it, in my pajamas without a phone. It’s like a rite of passage.

Charles is a video editor in a bit of a slump. Trying to do the right thing, he accidentally locks himself out. The make it worse, he has no shoes or wallet. Crossing paths with the neighborhood traffic enforcement officer, neighbors of all persuasion, an unreliable friend, and a cat, all while attempting to pack his ex’s belongings. The editing utilizes flashbacks to, in a way, explain how Charles is in this situation.  Managing texts, phone calls, a work project, and post-breakup woes, Charles is left with neighborhood shenanigans and his memories to taunt him.

I’ve been waiting for Brian Tyree Henry to get a leading role since he charmed the pants off of audiences in television, film, and on Broadway for the past 10 plus years. He’s sheer perfection. You just want to spend time with him. You can tell he is thoughtfully listening to his fellow cast by the tone of his responses. That is great acting. His journey culminates in a revelatory and emotional finale. It all just fits beautifully.

The dialogue is genuine and relatable. It’s a peek into lives very different from their own, regardless of social status. It’s a wonderful reminder to pause, take a breath, and look around every once in a while. I also think it might be a secret desire for every city dweller to run across the adjacent rooftops once in their lifetime. We get to live vicariously through Charles and Brain, here. The Outside Story is a love letter to a neighborhood and everyone who lives and survives there. It’s an ode to the perfectly imperfect moments. It’s a gem.

AVAILABLE ON DIGITAL AND ON-DEMAND ON FRIDAY, APRIL 30th

Written and Directed by CASIMIR NOZKOWSKI

Produced by FRANK HALL GREEN, BRIAN NEWMAN, JOSEPH STEPHANS, and CASIMIR NOZKOWSKI

Executive Produced by EVAN THAYER, CAMERON O’REILLY, and LISA KLEINER CHANOFF

Starring BRIAN TYREE HENRY, SUNITA MANI, SONEQUA MARTIN-GREEN, OLIVIA EDWARD, ASIA KATE DILLON, and REBECCA NAOMI JONES

About Liz Whittemore

Liz grew up in northern Connecticut and was memorizing movie dialogue from Shirley Temple to A Nightmare on Elm Street at a very early age. She will watch just about any film all the way through (no matter how bad) just to prove a point. A loyal New Englander, a lover of Hollywood, and true inhabitant of The Big Apple.