A THOUSAND AND ONE has many touching moments between the mother and the son and with the boy’s stepfather. The stepfather’s love for Terry grows after a rocky start. Also, the mother’s life becomes more stable when she takes action to becomes responsible for Terry. However, A THOUSAND AND ONE has lots of strong obscenities, including many “f” words, and an unmarried man and woman live together. So, MOVIEGUIDE® advises extreme caution.
Dominant Worldview and Other Worldview Content/Elements:
Light moral, redemptive worldview shows love abides negative circumstances and caring for children brings out the best in women and men, plus there are some brief politically correct criticisms of stop, question and frisk policies in New York City to control violent crime and save lives and a politically correct depiction of gentrification in the progression of two connected scenes
About 47 obscenities (including about 26 “f” words), one GD profanity, and one OMG profanity
Light violence such as younger woman shoves older woman when older woman makes an insulting and disparaging remark and woman also shoves a man during an argument, plus man with terminal cancer is confined to a hospital bed
There’s implied fornication as a man stands and puts on his shorts in the background in a bedroom, and because couple lives together before they decide to get married, and the man apparently cheated on wife, because a woman shows up later in a scene with a young daughter, plus an older woman accuses a younger woman of dressing like a prostitute, and woman caresses man’s chest that has a T-shirt on it
Brief rear nudity when man puts on his shorts in a bedroom, and some brief upper male nudity
No clear alcohol use
Smoking and/or Drug Use and Abuse:
Smoking, but no drugs; and,
Female lead is quick to anger, woman abducts her son from foster care system when she sees his foster parents let him roam the streets unattended, and a character tells a story about a two-year-old child being left on the streets by one or both of their parents.
A THOUSAND AND ONE is a well-acted slice-of-life drama about a homeless young black woman in New York City finding love and stability by caring for her young son from 1994 to 2005 when circumstances force a big change in their lives, but the love they share for one another survives. A THOUSAND AND ONE has a stunning twist at the end and lots of strong foul language, but it has many touching moments between the mother and the son and with the boy’s stepfather, whose love for the boy grows after a rocky start.
The movie opens in 1994 in Brooklyn. A young black woman named Inez is trying to make ends meet by working on people’s hair. Inez has just been released from jail, so she lives in shelters and friends’ places. Meanwhile, her 6-year-old son, Terry has been placed in foster care, but his current foster care parents leave him to wander the streets during the day.
When Terry hurts his head trying to escape from his foster parents, Inez decides to take Terry to a friend’s place in Harlem to look for work there. The friend lives with her mother, however, and the mother isn’t too happy about the new visitors. Also, it’s clear the woman doesn’t like Inex nor approve of the way she lives her life. Inez also has a temper, though, and when the mother compares the way Inez looks to a streetwalker, Inez shoves her.
However, Inez is offered a cleaning job in Queens, and, although it’s a two hour ride on public transport, she takes the job. The job is a godsend, and Inez and Terry soon are able to move into their own little apartment. Meanwhile, Inez changes Terry’s first and middle name to Darrell Terry and gets him a fake birth certificate and fake Social Security number to hide him from the foster care system. Also, Terry starts going to public school, but a year after he should have started.
As the years pass, Terry shows an aptitude for math and science, but he’s a very shy boy who seldom speaks. Also, Inez’s old boyfriend, Lucky, gets out of jail and starts living with Inez and Terry. It takes a year or two for Lucky to warm up to Terry, because Terry’s not his biological son, but he slowly does, and he even marries Inez.
Sometimes, though, Inez takes a hard line on Terry’s schooling, and she and Lucky get into arguments. In two of those arguments with Lucky, Lucky disappears for days, then weeks.
Sadly, Lucky develops terminal cancer and is sent to a local hospital. Also, the apartment where Inez and Terry, who’s now 17, live starts to fall apart. The new landlord seems friendly at first, but the apartment’s damage goes from bad to worse, and Lucky dies. Finally, as Terry’s about to turn 18 and get a job to help him go to college, a new revelation about his life with Inez turns his world upside down. How will it affect his love for his mother?
A THOUSAND AND ONE has a bittersweet ending. New circumstances cause a big change in Inez and Terry’s lives, including the way Terry sees the past. However, the love between them survives. So, the movie has a positive, morally uplifting premise. In a way, the big twist at the end shows that Inez’s past decisions regarding Terry have been incredibly heroic and even redemptive, though risky and a bit reckless.
A THOUSAND AND ONE has lots of strong foul language, including many “f” words. So, MOVIEGUIDE® advises extreme caution. However, although Inez lives with Lucky before they get married and Lucky has a child out of wedlock with another woman, the movie has no sex scenes and only brief male nudity. Also, Lucky otherwise remains loyal to Inez, and she’s by his side as he wastes away in the hospital. Finally, despite the movie’s realistic setting and drama, it has no scenes of drunkenness or drug abuse.
Ultimately, the main message in A THOUSAND AND ONE is that love abides. The movie also shows that, if you truly care for a child, your life will be rewarded, and vice versa.
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