Set on the North Carolina coast, Moss (2017) is a rarely seen look at contemporary Southern life. Written and directed by Daniel Peddle and beautifully shot by Juri Beythien, it’s an atmospheric journey in the mold of Huckleberry Finn.

Moss (Mitchell Slaggert) spends a lot of time on or near the water. He relationship with his silver-haired father (Billy Ray Suggs) is close though sometimes contentious. His best friend is Blaze (Dorian Cobb), a mellow character with a wild Afro who watches nature docs. The strict color lines of the old days don’t seem to matter anymore in their world.

Before Moss can complete his mission upriver to bring medicine to his grandmother, distractions ensue, in particular Mary (Christine Marzano), an older woman of thirty.

Is she a ghost from the past (Mary was name of his late mother), a drug induced vision or is she real?

Moss is more character than plot driven. It has a documentary feel in many of the scenes especially in the interactions with the locals who were often playing themselves. Peddle has an instinct for casting, he put Jennifer Lawrence in front of the camera at fourteen, and discovered many of the actors in this film. Resembling a college wrestler or football player with his All-American looks, Slaggert was modeling for Calvin Klein.