- 1 hr 31 min
Clover is a touching film set in the Bronx during the 1960s. The movie tells a story of a young girl named Clover, played by Zelda Harris, as she navigates through the world of adolescence and deals with the ups and downs of family life. Clover's mother, Greta, is played by Elizabeth McGovern, and she is the central focus of the film, with her character arc full of surprising twists and turns.
The opening scene of the movie sets a mellow tone, with Clover and her friends lazing around in the park as summer break stretches on. The next day, Clover finds out that her father, Jimmy, (played by Malcolm Gets) is leaving them for another woman, sending her world crashing down around her. Clover's mother Greta is shell-shocked when she hears the news and is forced to fend for herself and her daughter for the first time in her life.
Soon after, Greta is diagnosed with depression, and the pain of her husband leaving is too much to bear. She spirals into a deep sadness, leaving Clover to handle the house and the cooking. But despite her responsibilities, Clover keeps up her positive outlook on life and her love for her mother.
As the movie unfolds, we are introduced to various characters and storylines that keep the audience engaged. Clover's grandfather, played by Ernie Hudson, drops in and out of their lives, bringing a bit of whimsy and wonder into their otherwise troubled lives. Clover's friend, Kate (played by Teresa Yenque), is a young girl from Puerto Rico, and their bond brings a subplot dealing with race and the prejudices that come with it.
Clover, the star of the movie, is a wonderful representation of teenage life. As she deals with the rollercoaster of emotions that come with parents divorcing, she also has to navigate through friendship, school problems, and crushes. However, she remains strong through it all and is quite resilient, much more than most of us were in her situation. What's particularly refreshing is watching Clover grow as a character, often displayed through her interactions with the other characters in the film.
The movie's sepia-toned visuals give it a nostalgic feel, taking us back to the 1960s, and immersing us in the world of the Bronx in the way that only few movies can. The music of the time, from Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On" to The Jackson 5's "ABC," is put to good use throughout the film to keep the viewer grounded in the era.
Even though Clover is a coming-of-age story, it never glorifies or overstays its welcome. There's just enough humor to lighten the mood, and the serious scenes never feel like they were included just for shock value. The writing is crisp, with some scenes are beautifully written and shot, making the movie more of a character study rather than a typical coming-of-age film.
The performances in the movie are excellent, particularly from Elizabeth McGovern, whose portrayal of Greta is both nuanced and raw. Despite being a supporting player, Ernie Hudson does an excellent job, delivering some of the movie's most poignant lines. The standout performance, of course, is given by Zelda Harris, whose performance as Clover is simply magnificent. Even with the more demanding scenes, the young actress doesn't miss a beat, bringing an authenticity to her role that is both rare and refreshing.
Overall, Clover may not be a movie that everyone knows, but it's one that should be discovered by more people. It's heartfelt, well-written, well-directed, well-acted, and beautifully shot. At times poignant, but also full of humor, Clover is an excellent movie about family, love, and resilience. Watch it with a tissue box by your side because some scenes may stir up emotions you'd forgotten you had. Clover is a movie that will stay with you for a long time after the credits roll.