Teyana Taylor's moving performance in "A Thousand and One" put her in the award season conversation after her film's March 31 premiere. And now, for those who have yet to witness her role as a mom on a mission to keep her family together by any means, you can finally stream the film. But be warned: it'll surely bring you to tears.
The singer/ actor/ dancer/ producer stars in "A Thousand and One" as Inez De La Paz, an orphan and mother who's been shuffled around New York's foster care system and raised on the streets, much like her young son, Terry. In an effort to save themselves from an ever-changing, ruthless NYC from 1994 through the early aughts, Taylor's Inez kidnaps her son and takes him uptown to her hometown of Harlem, where the two try to start a new life together while covering up a dark family secret.
At its core, "A Thousand and One" is a gripping tale that's both a love letter to strong mothers and a look at the pitfalls of inner-city living. The passionate drama, short film director A.V. Rockwell's feature debut, made its world premiere at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival back in January and took home the Grand Jury Prize there.
In speaking with IndieWire in January, Rockwell explained that she was drawn to "A Thousand and One"'s story because of "the way that gentrification was reshaping New York City and me, especially observing, that it didn't feel super natural." She added, "I think that awareness of unreciprocated love and that feeling of being erased was a huge motivator for me . . . In addition to that, I felt like the experiences of Black women in society were overlooked — not only within society, though, but even within our own communities and families. I felt the need to speak on that."
Taylor also opened up about her challenging, powerhouse performance in an interview with Collider, frankly telling the outlet, "Life whooped Inez's ass so there was never a moment that did not intimidate me." "But I feel like I needed to feel that, you know what I'm saying? I don't want anything to be easy. I don't want anything to fall in my lap. So it was like I could b*tch, moan, and holler about something but I'm gonna get the job done," she continued. "And I needed that fear. And fear is okay. Nothing is wrong with fear because it puts you in survival mode, and as Inez, I had to survive."
Ahead, find out more about the movie that critics are calling a "breathtaking" coming-of-age story, including how you can watch it at home.