FRYBREAD FACE AND ME – A Review by Jenn Rohm
By learning about other cultures, histories, and experiences we can be better humans. One way to learn is via movies with love and respect being present. Director/writer Billy Luther brings us a semi-autobiographical film with Frybread Face and Me.
It’s 1990 and Benny (Keir Tallman) is looking forward to going to the Fleetwood Mac concert. His parents have different plans for his summer. They send him to his Maternal Grandmother’s, a sheep farm on a “rez” in Arizona. After his arrival, his cousin Frybread Face/Dawn (Charley Hogan) is also dropped off. Grandma Lorraine (Sarah H. Natani) only speaks Navajo, Benny only English, and Fry speaks both. While the wisdom of elders is shown, the focus is on the two coming-of-age youngsters learning about themselves and adjusting to new realities awaiting them at the end of summer.
The cast delivers a believable, well-paced story about family. While we don’t always like or understand one another loyalty and love are there. Tallman and Hogan carry most of the story and they do so in a way I would expect from someone older and with more life experience under their belt. Moments when they get to be kids remind me of my childhood and other moments when they have to deal with more responsibilities remind me time is fleeting.
Among the beauty and nature of Arizona, we see that life is not easy for ingenious people on the reservation. Respect and care are given in showing what life was like. The love and peace their Grandma provides Benny and Fry will soothe the viewers’ souls as well. If you need a moment away from the chaos of the holidays, be it with family itself or work delays with people out of the office, or even strangers in the stores, take a moment to sit and enjoy.
*Natani is a known Navajo weaver. (You can learn more about her by visiting Art in Embassies U.S. Department of State Sarah Natani ) I am not sure if the works shown in the film are hers, they are stunning.
Director: Billy Luther
Written By: Billy Luther
Cast: Keir Tallman, Charley Hogan, Sarah H. Natani
Languages: Navajo, English
MPAA Rating: Not yet rated.
Selig Rating: 3 stars
Runtime: 1h 23m
Release Date: limited theater release November 24, 2023
Streaming site: Netflix
Trailer: Frybread Face and Me Trailer
The Selig Rating Scale:
5 Stars – Excellent movie/show, well worth the time and price.
4 Stars – Good movie/show
3 Stars – OK movie/show
2 Stars – Well there was nothing else…
1 Star – Total waste of time.