Shortly after my Dad returned home from Vietnam, I excitedly attempted to awake him. Unexpectedly, he jumped up to grab me not realizing he was at home. He was scared and embarrassed. I simply didn’t understand what was happening. From that moment on, I stood across the room and yelled to wake him up. PTSD is a real disorder that affects millions of soldiers that have done their civic duty fighting for America. Many of these men return with little to no fanfare and never recover from the trauma they endured from the war.
Alisha (Tayler Buck) and her Dad “Bo” (Edi Gathegi) live on Skid row. He calls her Princess, she calls him Dad and they are doing their best to survive. But, with very few lucid moments from Bo, Alisha finds herself as the adult and her Dad the child. Not to mention, social services stalking to get them off the streets and Alisha into school to complete her education.
Princess of the Row, feels like a grittier, urban version of Debra Granik’s Leave No Trace. It’s compelling, moving and leaves you wanting to call or visit your Dad. I did. After all, I will always be Daddy’s Little Girl.
Tayler Buck is absolutely amazing. Literally, faced with the responsibility of carrying this film, she does it with ease, grace and maturity just like her alter character Alisha. Edi Gathegi (Bo) is unrecognizable and make you empathize with this man who clearly loves his daughter and knows he is not in the right mental state to help her grow as a person or a young woman in a world that has dealt him a really crappy deck of cards.
When Bo tells Alicia “…you will always be my daughter and nothing will ever change that. I understand if you have to leave me behind” made me break into the ugly cry and it was twice as worse when Alicia tells him the same thing when the moment comes for her to leave the one person in this world she would do anything for.
Princess of the Row is a cautionary tale of how our country doesn’t value veterans and makes you think twice the next time you drive or walk past a homeless camp. You never know where someone has come from to get where they are. Produced by Gravitas Ventures and Academy Award winner Morgan Freeman Princess of the Row in select theaters on digital platforms and VOD on November 27th.