An engaging documentary following the idealistic political campaign waged by 22-year-old Michael Tubbs, "True Son" offers an object lesson in the power of conviction.
The Stockton-raised Stanford graduate could have taken his degree and landed a decent job in Silicon Valley or on Wall Street, but instead Tubbs — the son of an incarcerated father — had his sights set on a hometown dubbed "the most miserable city in America."
Determined to reinvent Stockton in a year that saw a record number of homicides and the city teetering on the brink of bankruptcy, Tubbs ran against an incumbent twice his age in the 2012 election and emerged as Stockton's youngest council member.
For his first feature-length film, director Kevin Gordon shrewdly keeps the focus on Tubbs' scrappy grass-roots campaign, giving audiences a front-row glimpse into all the tireless canvassing and carefully chosen public appearances that ultimately attracted donors, including Oprah Winfrey and MC Hammer.
As inspirational pieces go, the journey taken by the affable Tubbs proves hard to resist, even as the film, in its hustle to get to the finish line, occasionally prevents viewers from feeling this underdog story's emotional victories.
No MPAA rating.
Running time: 1 hour, 12 minutes.
Playing: Laemmle's Music Hall 3, Beverly Hills.