Songs My Brothers Taught Me (2015) Chloe Zhao – Movie Reviews

Set in the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota, Songs My Brothers Taught Me primarily revolves around seventeen-year-old brother Johnny Winters and his eleven-year-old sister Jashaun, living with their alcoholic single mother Lisa below the poverty line. With local jobs in very short supply, John makes a few bucks here and there delivering bootleg alcohol and weed to his Oglala Lakota brethren in a place plagued by alcoholism and a lack of easy roads in life.  Meanwhile, their biological father, a rodeo performer who sired over two dozen half-brothers and sisters in his lifetime around the reservation with many different women, has died in a fire.  The community gets together in their mourning, but the wounds run deep, leaving an anguished Jashaun wanting the closeness of her brother who is already making plans to leave her behind to move thousand of miles away with his girlfriend Aurelia, who is on the verge of leaving to go to college in Los Angeles.