Sarah Gavron, as the director, previously did Suffragette (2015). That was a reasonably raw and dare I say it, single-minded (although focused) insight into what they fought for back in the early 1900s, specifically in London. Here there is also a focus on female empathy (within an urban environment although obviously the results are no less effective, as you shall see), with the approach being different.
Basically Rocks focuses on a group of teenage girls, mainly revolving around Olushola (nicknamed Rocks, hence the title) and consequences that follow when she’s abandoned by her single mum, leaving her to look after herself and her younger brother Emmanuel. What’s striking is how much input the teenage cast got into their characters and the story, so what you get is a very naturalistic and emotional flow. It reminds me of another 2020 film I watched, Saint Frances. That’s very different, being in America and about a young woman who gets an abortion and becomes a nanny. Yet that’s very naturalistic too and I kept thinking “the abortion’s gonna come up as a story consequence”. It doesn’t though, and although the mother abandonment actually does have story and character consequences that I won’t spoil, the results feel no less fresh.
I’m not going to say a lot more other than that it’s a change of pace you should really seek out. I know over in the UK there’s a second COVID-19 spike for now but you could do a lot worse than to watch this! I even know some urban male friends who would like Rocks!