Josh Gibbs’s review published on Letterboxd:
I knew next to nothing going into this and wasn't really sure what to expect, so initially I was just pleased to find myself liking and sympathising with these characters, who then became increasingly complex as the story progressed and more was revealed about them. The performances are completely engaging and thoroughly nuanced, and I totally believed in the relationships and backstories shared by the characters. And not to undermine their performances at all, but I wasn't surprised to learn that Diggs and Casal wrote this together and were best friends in real life after seeing the conviction that came across in many of their scenes.
It's a well-written and surprisingly funny film, walking the line between drama and comedy expertly (often pulling both off simultaneously), with the line “we're close enough already, we got a Calvin and Hobbes thing going on” and the dissing of Hitchcock and “M. Shyamalan Night” being key examples of the screenplay's excellence.
I knew nothing of the context of Oakland beforehand so it was enlightening for me to see a new culture so easily pushing out another despite the first one being so deep-rooted and personal, especially as it was told from the perspective of those being pressured to move on and change. And as they are pushed to do so in order to fit in with 'the times', their home and with it a sense of their identity is lost so it can be replaced with something more polished and 'respectable-looking'.
It's undoubtedly an incredibly compelling story which went in directions I didn't expect (and absolutely don't feel qualified to talk about at any length whatsoever), but let's just say it isn't simplistic in the way it goes about approaching issues relating to race and class, and hearing the line "I can't breathe" within the context of what's going on now really threw me. It's powerful and hard hitting, but thankfully not in a way that feels forced or overly constructed. It flows naturally from the story, the characters. That said, I found the dream sequences felt out of place and on-the-nose compared to the rest of the film. And this isn't really a criticism, but I can't see myself rewatching this easily.
During the basement confrontation I was torn between wanting to look away and keep right on watching. Obviously it's a constructed story, but you can tell from the passion behind it that it's been drawn from very real experiences of the sad injustices of humanity in the world today and the prejudices we all carry around with us, which leaves the story feeling so real and, dare I say it, important. This isn't one sided and it isn't shallow, and it made me think and feel a lot of things I didn't expect.
“Blindspotting... It's all about how you can look at something, and there can be another thing there that you aren't seeing. So you gotta blindspot.”