A fleet-footed teen encounters a torrent of problems when her beloved grandmother dies and she joins her crack-whore mother in the Nassau slums in “Rain.” Despite the script’s melodramatic cliches and some weak supporting perfs, Bahamian documaker Maria Govan’s feature bow reps the sort of good-hearted coming-of-ager that will find support on the fest and alternative exhibition circuit, and life in ancillary. Presence of thesps Irma P. Hall, Nicki Micheaux and CCH Pounder should also open some doors.
Raised on beautiful Ragged Island by her hymn-singing grandmother (Hall), 14-year-old Rain (Renel Naomi Brown, inexperienced but affecting) must draw on all her inner strength when she goes to live with HIV-infected Glory (Micheaux, strong). Outspoken track coach Miss Adams (wise Pounder) recognizes Rain’s potential and provides moral support and a goal. Displaying an eye for composition, helmer Govan (who spent two years observing a crack house for docu “Where I’m From: HIV and AIDS in the Bahamas”), knows her milieu — essentially the antithesis of Bahamian tourist-board images. Martina Radwan’s gritty lensing and Denise Hudson’s detailed production design provide ample support. Bahamian accents, sometimes difficult to understand, would benefit from subtitling.