Bruiser review: An insightful family drama

In Bruiser, the life of Darious, a 14-year-old, becomes complicated when his biological father returns, looking for a second chance. The movie is now streaming on Hulu.


It’s summertime, and Darious is still trying to figure out what he will be doing at home as most of his friends from his prestigious school are off for a vacation to exotic destinations. Darious is no longer in touch with his old friends either.

One day, Darious gets involved in a scuffle with one of his friends that soon turns into an all-out fight, which he loses. He walks away from his friends and finds a man named Porter, who is living on a lifeboat.

Darious opens up to Porter like never before. Porter teaches him things his father wouldn’t. Darious’ parents, Malcolm and Monica, have worked hard to raise Darious right. There are certain things they don’t want Darious to be involved in.

It is later revealed that Porter is actually Darious’ biological father, who walked out on him years ago. He is here looking for a second chance, but owing to the dark past he has, Malcolm and Monica doubt if they are ready to let him into Darious’ life.


Bruiser is packed with strong performances from the lead cast. They manage to create a certain amount of tension that is required to make the story that the movie is presenting work.

Jalyn Hall, as Darious, captures how his character is struggling to open up just like every other teenager. He finds it hard to connect with his parents but easily manages to form that connection with a free-spirited Porter, played by Trevante Rhodes.

Darious is more attracted to Porter’s sense of freedom and his will to teach or do something new, which makes Darious move away from his overprotective father, Malcolm, who wants nothing but good for his son.

Hall gets these feelings of a teenager right; he takes his time and naturally captures the influence Porter brings to his character.

Trevante Rhodes, who plays Porter, and Shamier Anderson, who plays Malcolm, bring equally good performances. Rhodes plays a flawed loner who is trying to fix his mistakes but still isn’t there yet.

The viewers may feel bad for Anderson, considering how much his character as a father has done for his son. The urge to keep his son happy and protect him can be seen in Anderson’s mannerisms. Anderson does overshadow Rhodes at times.


Bruiser starts off focusing on the tender relationship between Darious and his parents. In the first 20 minutes, viewers will get accustomed to the family dynamic that Malcolm, Monica, and Darious share.

The movie is slow, but it still manages to engross a viewer into its world if the viewers are willing to give the attention it needs in these 20 minutes. Once the world of Bruiser is established, Darious’ story becomes intriguing to watch.

The film also has a lot of drama that is handled carefully. None of it feels over the top; it’s natural. Most of the credit here must go to the story itself, which is quite realistic in nature. Upon watching the drama unfold, it feels like the film is far from being something fictional.

Lastly, the filming and many of the slow-motion sequences present the feelings of the characters without having them utter a single word; this can mostly be noticed during the confrontations between Malcolm and Porter.


Bruiser puts forth Malcolm and Porter as the two fathers who try to shape a life for their son. Somewhere in the middle, the movie forgets about Malcolm’s mother, Monica, who calls herself the decision-maker in a scene.

The film could’ve given more time to Monica, as she is the only one who finds the right balance for her son.


Bruiser is a short, slow, and insightful family drama that needs some patience if the viewers really want to enjoy and understand it. The strong performances of the cast make a regular family drama feel more real and touching.

Bruiser review: An insightful family drama 1

Director: Miles Warren

Date Created: 2023-02-24 00:00

Editor's Rating:

Also Read: Bruiser ending explained: Who does Darious choose?

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