Every Friday, Christopher Rainey hosts a “Freestyle” night in the recording studio in the basement of his North Philadelphia home. It’s not the most sophisticated studio – it’s small, and dark, and the ceiling leaks. But “Freestyle Fridays” are a tradition in the neighborhood, the night of the week when friends and neighbors, hopeful hip-hop artists — or anyone who can put some rhymes together — crowd around the microphone to tell their stories while children sit outside on the sidewalk and peer into the basement windows.
Simultaneously sweeping and intimate, Quest uses one family’s experiences to offer trenchant, wide-ranging observations about modern American life. For nearly ten years, filmmaker Jonathan Olshefski befriended and filmed the Rainey family and the passage of time is something wonderful to behold. We watch – indeed, live with – Christopher, Christine’a, PJ and William as they attempt to define their lives. In capturing this family and the vibrant neighborhood in which they live, Olshefski crafts a perfect response to so many policy issues that face our nation today.
The Rainey clan will have audiences clutching their hearts in a visceral display of admiration. Ultimately, Quest reflects the profound beauty of one family whose journey is a testament to love and healing and whose resilience provides hope for a nation torn apart. (USA / 107 min)