"Troop Zero" is an American dramedy, directed by Bert & Bertie and written by Lucy Alibar. The film first premiered in February 2019 at the Sundance Film Festival and was then purchased by Amazon to become an Amazon Original, premiering to the public on Jan. 17, 2020.
The film stars the multifaceted Mckenna Grace, who is known for playing kid versions of multiple characters such as Sabrina Spellman, Carol Danvers and Tonya Harding. Grace plays Christmas Flint - the main character who, after losing her mother, begins to have a fascination with the idea of meeting extraterrestrial life forms. She believes these extraterrestrials would understand her, as she feels no one around her does.
Christmas, not being very popular among the other children in the film, is referred to as a “bed wetter.” Even though they continue to taunt her with the name, she pushes through with a positive attitude.
When she overhears that the local Birdie Scouts will be participating in a talent show - the winners being able to have their voices included on the Voyager Golden Record - Christmas sets out to start her own Troop. This choice gives her much more than she had initially hoped for.
The film, based in Georgia in 1977, also stars Viola Davis as Miss Rayleen, a mother figure in Christmas’s life who works for Christmas’s father Ramsey Flint (played by Jim Gaffigan). Miss Rayleen is a spitfire who offers comedic appeal while becoming the Troop mom for the complex group of kids Christmas puts together. Mike Epps also stars in the film, playing Dwayne Champaign, another of Ramsey’s employees who also offers comedic dialogue.
The supporting cast of children in the film is what really makes the movie - and its messages - something special. Joseph, played by Charlie Shotwell, is a local boy who becomes a Birdie alongside Christmas, his only friend in town. Although it is not typical for a boy to be a Birdie, he does so anyway in such great fashion; the way the film addresses it is realistic and inspiring.
Allison Janney also stars in the film as Miss Massey, an old acquaintance of Miss Rayleen and principal of the school the children attend. Milan Ray and Joanna Colon star as Hell-No Price and Smash, the latter previously seen in HBO’s "Euphoria" as Young Cat. Both individuals bring their own eccentric talents to the film, which pushes the storyline for both their own characters and the film as a whole. Rounding out the troop is Bella Higginbotham as Anne-Claire, who only has one eye - this is talked about continuously throughout the film.
As “Troop Zero" is an all-around fun film with an amazing cast and great messaging, I would recommend it as the perfect feel good film. The movie does a great job articulating meaningful messages and conveying self-discovery, while also showing the intricacies of childhood friendship and how much they can affect one's mind. The cast and crew, as well as Amazon, made it a great film available to the masses; “Troop Zero” certainly won’t go unrecognized.
I rate this film 5 out of 5 Swoops.