Starring: Ashleigh Murray, Rachel Crow, Danielle Nicolet
Director: Sydney Freeland
Running Time: 92 mins
Deidra & Laney Rob A Train is an American film about two young girls who, after seeing their mother arrested for an outburst at her work, set about robbing trains that go past their house to keep themselves afloat while living on their own.
As small-scale and heartfelt as you can get, Deidra & Laney Rob A Train is a wonderful piece of independent cinema, with riveting drama complemented by pleasant humour, gorgeous performances and a big heart that opens your eyes to difficult realities, and inspires you with an uplifting and (ultimately) thoroughly heartwarming story.
It’s the sort of story that’s absolutely made for independent cinema, because while big name stars have no shortage of talent, there’s always a feeling that they can’t get quite as far down to earth as many stars of the indie scene. Fortunately, while there are some bigger names here, the young leads of Ashleigh Murray and Rachel Crow are an absolute delight, giving performances that live up to the film’s worthy drama and thoroughly pleasant heart.
Following the two girls as they attempt to fend for themselves with their mother in prison and their father a liability, the film looks deep into the motives and realities behind even the youngest, most kind-hearted of people taking to crime, and while it gives a sobering and impactful depiction of just that, it also tells a sweet and uplifting coming-of-age tale.
Because, while all the adults around the two girls seem to say that they know better, the pair consistently find themselves getting the one up on their elders, whether it be in school, at home, or even in a bizarre but charming battle of wits with local law enforcement. And in that, we see the two begin to understand the realities of the wider world and that, while things might not be as easy and carefree as in childhood, those above them don’t know it all.
It’s a wonderful theme that hits right where you need it to, with a wonderfully warm-hearted sense of optimism pitted against a backdrop of harsher reality. Director Sydney Freeland does a fantastic job throughout, bringing that sweeter, more pleasant atmosphere to the fore in front of what could have been a very sobering movie, all the while ensuring that the core of the film’s message doesn’t get lost under it all.
Deidra & Laney Rob A Train has everything you might want from a really good indie movie. Down-to-earth, intelligent, heartfelt, funny, sweet and still impactful, it’s a great watch from beginning to end, with a story that’s appropriate for all ages, and insightful main themes that leave you with a smile on your face, but also having learnt something more about some difficult realities, so that’s why I’m giving the film a 7.6 overall.