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Wednesday, Apr 13 2016
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Movies ending with a URL and a call to action are often dramaturgically dubious, tending to be less about telling a compelling story for its own sake and more about getting the audience worked up enough visit the website at the end. This goes doubly so for movies that are also made available in 50-minute versions for schools and "faith-based and community screenings," such as Jeffrey D. Brown's 97-minute Sold, which mostly rises above its genre's limitations. It's about a very serious subject, the sexual trafficking of young girls, following the travails of 13-year-old Nepalese girl Lakshmi (Niyar Saikla) as her debt-ridden parents unknowingly sell her to a brothel in Calcutta. As she adjusts to her horrible new life in standard prison-movie fashion, foreign aid workers Sophia (Gillian Anderson) and Sam (David Arquette) plan to rescue her while speaking the film's themes in unaccented English. Sold is also the kind of movie that once would have been posited as a "Tell your children" sort of lesson in morality, a warning to girls not to stray too far from the path, but Brown makes it clear that what happened to Lakshmi is not her fault — and more importantly, she's never passive, taking her fate into her own hands. Also, kites equal innocence. That's just Filmmaking 101.

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Sherilyn Connelly

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