Night Comes On.

Night Comes On - Still 1

Small but impactful, this heartbreaker still fills us with a surprising hope.

Her mother dead, her father gone, Angel is about to turn 18 when she is released from juvenile detention, having served time for possession of a firearm. Out and very much on her own, Angel reaches out to the few people who may or may not help her, even when, as in the case of her much younger sister, who is sheltering in foster care, that, too, puts more on the shoulders of a teenage girl than she deserves.

We have seen tragic stories like this one before and they are never easy to watch. Angel, played by the extraordinary Dominique Fishback (“The Deuce”), is haunted but determined to find a way past the roads that leave her stranded. And while Fishback is terrific, it’s newcomer Tatum Marilyn Hall, as the 10 year old abandoned sister, who grabs us, and makes us root for this very, very sad duo.

Debuting director Jordana Spiro handles their story with care and compassion, never losing her grip with overwrought emotion. Her cinematographer, Hatuey Viveros Lavielle, manages to make the darkest pictures affecting and beautiful. It’s wonderful to see James McDaniel, even in the too small role of Angel’s parole officer and wrenching to watch the acclaimed theater actor, John Jelks nail the few, but key scenes he shares with his younger, wonderfully assured star.

Small but penetrating, this family drama makes its mark and leaves us wondering about so many other Angels living amongst us.