Growing Up Smith


Comedy / Drama / Family

Plot summary

Uploaded by: FREEMAN


Top cast

Hilarie Burton Photo
Hilarie Burton as Nancy Brunner
Jason Lee Photo
Jason Lee as Butch Brunner
Poorna Jagannathan Photo
Poorna Jagannathan as Nalini Bhatnagar
Jake Busey Photo
Jake Busey as Officer Dick
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
943.67 MB
English 2.0
23.976 fps
1 hr 42 min
P/S 1 / 6
1.89 GB
English 5.1
23.976 fps
1 hr 42 min
P/S 3 / 13

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by eptiger-19 / 10

Fun, heartfelt, and relatable!

I was so glad that SIFF decided to show this movie because it was a real joy to see! It reminds me of movies like ET, Super 8, and Moonrise Kingdom - a coming of age story with the twist of Indian culture. Having grown up in an Indian family in America, I can relate to a lot of quirkiness in the movie (though we weren't Hindu) - as crazy as some of the stuff may seem, it's very believable. The acting was also really impressive - Roni Akurati is a star all on his own, Anjul Nigam came up with a very realistic portrayal of an Indian father new to America trying to carefully navigate American culture, Jason Lee is amazing as always in the role of a very fatherly neighbor, and Poorna Jagannathan nails it as the loving but stern Indian mother. You don't have to be Indian to appreciate this movie, you just have to have an open mind and an open heart.

Reviewed by stevepat992 / 10

Heartless not heartfelt

Read 4-5 great reviews with such as 'fun friendly' and 'hearfelt.' And for the most part the film delivered. Smith is a very young kid (age 10-12?) doing everything and more to become as American as apple pie. His next door crush, Amy, is his true first love soul mate though, from Amy's perspective they are simply 'best friends.' All actors are fine and we care about all of them. We know there will be a clash of cultures via summaries that give away the fact that Smith will eventually go back to India and return 19 years later.

With that said, the circumstances in the final act are atrocious, unfriendly and heartless. His sister Asha has lied about her secret American boy friend and at age 14-15 is found by the parents making out in a car at a local lover's lane. Smith for his part blurts out nothing more then his childish 'I love' Amy. At age 12 or so this can easily be dismissed. After all there is zero between the two other then friendship. They are too young for any serious romance and there is in fact no romance, not even holding hands so of course not so much as a kiss.

Does the family come down on daughter Asha who they note is a "whore" "no man from India will marry." Nope, Asha stays in the USA. Smith, who has never even held Amy's hand is sent to India. Smith will be damaged goods, having been abandoned by both parents at age 12 or so, never to see his loving sister or parents until his he returns to visit them 19 years later. Culture aside, I am thinking just how devastated and damaging such a cruel abandonment would be for any young child.

The Smith family reunion is bazaar, as if we was away for a few weeks at summer camp rather then abandoned by his parents for 19 years.

I am at a loss for all the positive reviews for a screenplay that causes utter emotional destruction of 12 year old Smith.

Reviewed by info-718910 / 10

Wonderful Piece of Cinema

Full disclosure: I am a filmmaker myself, I watch films not only as entertainment, but always tend to evaluate and study each and every element that goes into making a hopefully successful film. Watching this film wasn't only entertaining, it was a monumental achievement.

Growing up Smith is an engaging story about a boy who is an Indian immigrant growing up before our eyes, falling in love with his first crush, dealing with bullies and an ever-changing family dynamic... No this isn't the story of January 2017, it is actually set in 1979. However timely this film may be, it goes beyond the preferential force feeding you may come to expect from films that are socially or politically charged in today's climate... It hits you where it hurts most, your heart. You see, this film connected with me on numerous levels, not because I am Indian or an immigrant, I am neither. I am an American born in Virginia. It hit me hard because it tapped into the innocence we are all born with as children. That innocence that knows no skin tone, no material objects, no predisposition to one's background, only the natural, visceral feelings we have as kids.

At the center of this story is Smith, played effortlessly by newcomer Roni Akurati, a young boy who deeply yearns to be an American. He wants to eat apple pie, listen to the Bee Gees and eat KFC. He also falls in love with his first crush, the figurative and literal girl next door, a young blonde, blue eyed girl, the enchanting and lovable Amy, played by Brighton Sharbino. As the two become friends, his desire to be American grows as he befriends her father Butch Brunner, played by Jason Lee. On the surface, I don't have to tell you much about Butch Brunner you can't already surmise from his name. Glad they stopped short of naming him Biff a la Back to the Future. What is different about Butch is that despite his exterior, he too is an endearing figure that we can all relate to. He is the hard working, beer drinking, meat loving, full bearded white guy from Oklahoma who like many Americans struggles to make ends meat, raise a family and find happiness in this world. The two form a bond, a friendship that transcends their age, their race or their position in life.

There are many layers and subplots to this film which uncommonly do not detract from the main story-line. There is the overly-strict Indian father constantly battling the urge to have his family assimilate, but not lose their own identity and culture. His wife who tries to hold the family together. Butch's wife who has the impossible job of sticking by her husband and supporting his wishes and dreams like keeping his motorcycle, however balancing the looming monthly elephant in the room called mortgage, bills, life.

This was as honest, entertaining, heartwarming and evocative a film as I have seen. That isn't hyperbole, it is simply the humble feelings of a filmmaker who recognizes "okay, the bar's been set". The subtlety, the sincerity from scene to scene and character to character made this not only an enjoyable film, but one I truly respected and will hold close.

In closing, I must say that maybe equally as impressive as the film itself, is the fact that this is an Indie. This film was made for 2 million dollars which on its own is an outstanding achievement. The film being set in 1979, having star quality talent both on screen and off. I don't recall an Indie this well-crafted. Masterfully directed by Frank Lotito, beautifully shot by Thomas Scott Stanton, and what a terrific script by Paul Quinn, Gregory Scott Houghton and one of the film's stars Anjul Nigam. I could go on and on, the production design, music, all of the performances, all of these visual components contributed to make a timeless film that if you told me was a major Studio release-50 million dollar film, I wouldn't think twice. It is that complete.

Not sure if this film is considered in this past year's flock of films (It is listed 2015, but releasing 2017) but if it is, it is certainly in my top 10 of best films of the year. Hat's off to all involved, you made a tremendous film.

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