Review: Troop Zero

Viola Davis, Mckenna Grace, and Milan Ray in Troop Zero

Troop Zero is a moving, inspiring, underdog story streaming on Prime Video. It’s about an unlikely gaggle of kids who stand up to the universe and say, “I am here.”

Christmas Flint (Mckenna Grace) lives in nowhere Georgia. It’s 1997. She lives with her dad, Ramsey (Jim Gaffigan). He’s a lawyer who works out of his home office/mobile home with the help of a secretary, Miss Rayleen (Viola Davis). Neither of them can get anyone to pay their bills for legal services.

Since Christmas lost her mother, she’s been having a little problem. She wets herself when she’s upset. She has no friends because of it.

The most merciless of the children who bully her about her problem are the Birdie troop and its mean girl Piper (Ashley Brooke). The troop leader, Miss Massey (Allison Janney), does nothing to instill the Birdie values of kindness in her girls.

Christmas thinks her mother is now somewhere in the universe listening and watching for word from her daughter. She’s on the roof every night sending signals into the cosmos.

Allison Janney and Viola Davis in Troop Zero
The prissy white lady, the Afro – everything about this film is perfectly calibrated to make you root for the underdogs.

When Christmas hears that the winners of the Birdie Jamboree will get to record their voices on NASA’s Golden Record to send a permanent message out into space, she swings into action.

She puts together a Birdie troop of all the misfits in her little town. Joseph (Charlie Shotwell) isn’t actually a girl. But he’s gay for sure. Hell-No Price (Milan Ray) intimidates her way through the world with anger. Smash (Johanna Colón) breaks things. Anne-Claire (Bella Higginbotham) has one eye patched over and prays about everything.

Miss Rayleen is pressed into service as their leader. They begin earning merit badges and filling the requirements to participate in Jamboree.

It isn’t easy going. Nothing is ever going to be easy for this group of kids. But they have the same powerful human need to be loved and accepted as any other being. They show it in a moving way.

I was very touched by the ending. This bedraggled group of white, black, brown, gay, half-blind kids represent all of us. The human spirit. May it soar.

The movie is rated PG. There were some curse words (not really bad ones), some drinking, some smoking. But I think it is fine for kids to see. I think they will love it and be as inspired by it as this granny was.

Katie Ellwood and Amber Templemore-Finlayson directed Troop Zero under the name Bert & Bertie. It was written by Lucy Alibar.

Troop Zero poster
Ground Control to Major Tom, the troop is ready for the countdown.

Take a look at the trailer.

Have you seen Troop Zero? Were you as moved by it as I was?

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Author: Virginia DeBolt

After many years as an educator and writer, Virginia finally retired from working life. She's always loved a good movie or TV show and wants to use her free time to talk about them with you now. She's Old Ain't Dead!

2 thoughts on “Review: Troop Zero”

  1. I loved this film. I’m realizing how much I loved every odd kid in Troup Zero and I think it’s rare to experience a movie where you truly care so much about the kids. A testament to the acting, writing, casting and directing. McKenna Grace really just floored me – amazing. I’m surprised more reviews did not recognize her performance. I feel sorry for the critics who couldn’t get past the movies flaws. How could you not be won over by this movie?

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