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Short Film Review: “Harlem Grace” – Transforming Lives, A Portrait of Joseph H. Holland.



Harlem Grace” is a poignant short film set in 1985, offering a snapshot of the life of Joseph H. Holland, the former New York State Commissioner of Housing. 

Written and directed by Allen Wolf, the film chronicles Holland‘s philanthropic efforts to transform the lives of homeless men in New York State, focusing on his encounter with Harvey (played by Michael Broughton) a homeless man, whose life has been ruined by drug addiction.

Broughton delivers a decent performance, embodying Harvey‘s struggles and vulnerabilities as he navigates the challenges of addiction and homelessness. 

Michael Broughton & Michael Anthony Walker in Harlem Grace 2024

His character’s arc unfolds as Joe, portrayed convincingly by Michael Anthony Walker, extends a compassionate hand, offering Harvey shelter and support despite initial setbacks, including theft and legal troubles.

Wolf adeptly captures the gritty reality of Harlem in the 1980s, depicting the unforgiving streets where encounters between black residents and the police are fraught with tension. 

Even though the film IMDb states that it was released on February 27, 2024, it is very obvious that it might have been shot closer to the era it is set in. The film’s authenticity shines through in its meticulous attention to period details, from costumes to props, lending credibility to the narrative.

The overall look and feel of the film confirm this as well. 

Michael Broughton Harlem Grace 2024

At its core, “Harlem Grace” is a testament to the power of kindness and human connection. Through Joe Holland‘s selfless actions, the film reminds viewers of the potential for positive change, no matter how small the gesture. Joe’s character serves as a beacon of empathy, highlighting the importance of compassion and solidarity in uplifting marginalized communities.

Despite its short runtime of 32 minutes, “Harlem Grace” effectively conveys Holland’s inspiring story and the impact of his work. 

While it leaves audiences longing for a deeper exploration of his journey, particularly in its potential as a feature-length film, the short format effectively captures the essence of Holland’s altruism and its transformative effects on countless lives.

Ultimately, “Harlem Grace” leaves a lasting impression, underscoring the profound impact of individual acts of kindness and the ripple effect they can create in communities. In the end, we also learn that hundreds of men and families have been transformed through Joe’s work at the shelter.

As Joe Holland’s legacy is revealed, viewers are left inspired and moved by the enduring power of compassion and the capacity for redemption.

I will score this short 4 out of 5 stars.

Michael Broughton & Michael Anthony Walker in Harlem Grace 2024


Second on my list of addictions is Movies.. the only thing I could possibly love more is my Dearest Waakye lol. Nothing else does a better job of reminding me that ANYTHING is possible with the right amount of effort. I have great eye for details and flaws in scripts. Shallow scripts bore me. I am an avid reader. Your everyday Mr Nice guy. Always the last to speak in a room full of smart people. Half Human, half Martian but full MOVIE FREAK.

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