I was able to screen Bilal as press. All thoughts presented here belong to me and my son who screened it with me.
1,400 years ago, Bilal, a seven-year-old boy, finds himself and his sister under the tyranny of slavery. Throughout his life he undergoes many hardships, through which he discovers an inner strength he did not realize he possessed. Through these experiences, Bilal comes to realize that if he is brave enough to raise his voice and choose his own path – everything becomes possible. It is through his courage, that he frees himself and ultimately his community; It is through the power of his voice and faith that his lifelong dream of freedom comes true. Bilal grows into a man who will inspire and forever change the world.
“Bilal: A New Breed Of Hero” stars Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (“Suicide Squad,” “Thor: The Darkworld,” Lost) as the voice of adult Bilal; Ian McShane (American Gods, “John Wick: 2,” “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides ,” Deadwood) as the voice of Umayya, Bilal’s evil master; Jacob Latimore (“Detroit,” “Collateral Beauty,” “The Maze Runner”) as the voice of teenage Bilal; China Anne McClain (“Descendants 2,” Descendants: Wicked World, A.N.T. Farm) as Bilal’s teenage sister Ghufaira; Cynthia Kaye McWilliams (Bosch, Nashville) as Bilal’s mother, Hamama; and Michael Gross (“Tremors,” ER, The Young and the Restless, Family Ties) as Okba the cowardly slave trader.
Take a look:
The film is rated PG-13 so I wasn’t sure whether or not to let my 11 going to be 12 in a month son watch with me. I figured if things became too much for this sensitive soul I could finish watching myself. He loved it! There is action violence in this film. My son said, “Yes, there is a lot of action violence, but it has meaning. In some films people just fight for power and in this film they were fighting for so much more. They were fighting for freedom.” Wow! He took away many powerful messages after watching this film. There are messages about how we are all people regardless of skin color or class. The meaning of family and staying true to your roots. Bilal remained a good person even though he had been through Hell in his life. The fact that it was based on true events gives more power to the message of owning your true identity and finding your voice when you think you have none. While my son loved, I found it to be a bit long even though it was only 1 hour and 45 minutes. I think this possibly has to do with the fact that most of the film is dark and the animation came off a bit stiff at times. All in all I was quite happy with it and how my son walked away with these messages and he also learned a bit about another culture. It’s worth the watch!
Catch it in select theaters now!
Disclosure: I received a screening copy of this film. All thoughts belong to me and my son and have not been influenced.