Lorraine Toussaint and Gugu Mbatha-Raw in Fast Color
Lorraine Toussaint and Gugu Mbatha-Raw in Fast Color

Fast Color is not really a superhero film, though the family of black women at its heart quietly wield supernatural powers—the ability to take things apart and put them back together the way they were—that have been handed down through generations and have compelled them to live in hiding, in a remote American Midwest town.

The film is set in a near-future, where rain has pretty much stopped, water is scarce, and “Seeing the colors” as family matriarch Bo (played by the always fantastic Lorraine Toussaint) calls it, in her wise, calm tone, is more dangerous than ever. She’s the anchor between Ruth (Gugu Mbatha-Raw as the daughter who’s returned home after many years of being MIA and is now on the run from governmental scientists), and Lila (Saniyya Sidney as her granddaughter, and the daughter Ruth abandoned many years before).

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Fast Color is poignant, heartfelt, engrossing post-apocalyptic sci-fi with lovely, understated special effects, just enough action and tension to draw you, and a story that unfolds gently like a blooming flower. It is simply brilliant.

Fast Color screens at Northwest Film Forum this evening and Sunday night.