A majority of the world has grown up with their parents telling them three simple words: you are special. Usually their proclamations are brushed off by their children with the excuse, “you’re only saying that because I’m your child” or “you have to say.” However, for Ruth (Gugu Mbatha-Raw), those words just aren’t for comfort or motherly duties, it’s based on truth. Ruth possesses a beautiful (both visually and metaphorically) superpower of breaking apart any material to its basic element with just a thought. Unfortunately life and this gift haven’t been kind to Ruth as she finds herself a former addict being chased by a government scientist (Christopher Denham).
Riddled with violent seizures that are literally earth-shattering, Ruth is running for her freedom in middle-America where rain hasn’t fallen in eight years (raising the price of water to $12 per liter). Covered in rope burns and fears of being captured again, she sets out to reconnect with the family she fled from years ago. But will their family reunion bring more harm than good and destroy the home that’s sheltered the family of women for generations. As the world grips with its new reality, Ruth is trying to get her powers under control with the help of her mother and daughter who both share the same gifts.
Fast Color is a slow-burning film that’s more about the tides that bond us, instead of massive explosions and dazzling special effects. Grounded in realism, we meet Bo (Lorraine Toussaint) who is doing her best to raise her granddaughter Lila (Saniyya Sidney) in her rural home. Surrounded by love, warm paintings and loving pictures, she helps to provide a semblance of normalcy despite being surrounded by despair and a greater sense of loss (the loss of a mother, water, the loss of a daughter, the lost of freedom), they carry on with great determination and strength; just like the women in their family have before.
Toussaint is a masterclass on screen as the caring mother thrilled over of her daughter’s return but cautious. Watching her daughter walk away from her once before still weighs heavily on her mind, a feeling she carries from within. Despite her conflicted emotions, she is a comforter that will stop at nothing to protect her family. Mbatha-Raw is also a delight onscreen. Filled with raw emotion we feel the weight of her decision to leave her family behind, the guilt of her addiction and the longing for love—a sense of normalcy. Sidney as Ruth’s young daughter is smart beyond her years, inquisitive and commanding on screen. Filled with personality, determination and love; she effortlessly blends between being the parent and child in this three-some dynamic.
While not perfect, it does suffer with pacing while going with an open-ended ending, Julia Hart’s Fast Color is a brilliant intimate movie that shows the resilience and beauty of women. Captivating from the beginning, each character equally shines. Blending superhero elements with sci-fi, it is both inspirational and a surprising delight.