Troop Zero Review (Sundance)

Updated: Feb 8, 2019

An adventurous nine-year old oddball creates her own Birdie troop, led by a reluctant troop mama in hope to win the 1977 Birdie Jamboree and have her voice recorded in space.



Well, I walked into the theater lobby for the premiere and almost bumped into Viola Davis. Is there more I need to say?


Directed by the dynamic duo Bert and Bertie, Troop Zero is a feel-good comedy that tells a cool story full of life lessons and inspirations. Usually, I am not a fan of films with child actors as leads, but this is one hell of a movie. There is some serious scene-stealers in here that will certainly not be overlooked. When the courageous Christmas (Mckenna Grace) hears that the grand prize at the 1977 Birdie Jamboree is to have your voice on NASA’s Golden Record, she insists on forming her own troop. By the skin of her teeth, she finds a troop mama (Viola Davis) to lead the way, but with a heavily diverse group and a persistent evil school principal (Allison Janney), this is going to be harder than she thought.


This film is a journey within itself, and it has many surprises to offer. From beginning to end, you are entertained with wildly bold characters and their antics. They are not afraid to be themselves, no matter the repercussions, and you can feel it. This is a battle between being who you want to be and being who society wants you to be. The troop is nowhere near perfect, and they are competing against others, who have done this for years, but they continue to be fearful and it is marvelous to witness. Rarely was the theater silent during this film. The troop is hysterical, even when just standing there. They are two children in this film: one is similar to an abusive dictator and the other can be the Hulk’s daughter; and I could not keep myself together. They are surely a band of outsiders and it is a joy to see how they work together to compete in the Jamboree.


Every single performance is outstanding. The children give it their all, portraying characters that are greatly flawed, but tremendously strong and they all must find their strength. I have to give it to Milan Ray (Hell-No, yes that is her character’s name), who gives a brutal performance by portraying one who does not like to show her emotions. Lead Mckenna Grace also gives a remarkable performance that allows the audience to enter Christmas thoughts and dreams as she narrates the film like a pro. Viola Davis does no wrong here as well by playing a fearless troop mama that struggles to find happiness within herself, but nonetheless, pushes through for the betterment of her “boo’s”. In addition, she got to keep the fro, could we be any happier? Allison Janney also delivers a laugh-out-loud performance that gives us everything to hate and love about her.


In the end, the film has a lot of heart. Do no mistake this for a children’s film nor a “chick flick”. The messages are clear and raw, but necessary. By the end of the film, many found themselves emotional. It is nice to reflect on yourself and find your inner peace and I ensure you that great films will do as such. During Q&A, the cast and crew would like us to keep in mind that even when times are hard, just remember that everyone has a place in the universe.


A clever story that pushes the right boundaries at the right time.


I can’t wait to see it again.

















Amazon has purchased the rights to the film.

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