Little Woods

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Little Woods
Little Woods film.jpeg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byNia DaCosta
Produced by
Written byNia DaCosta
Music byBrian McOmber
CinematographyMatt Mitchell
Edited byCatrin Hedström
  • Automatik
  • Buffalo Picture House
  • Extra A Productions
  • Stonebois Entertainment
  • Tango Entertainment
  • Water's End Productions
Distributed byNeon
Release date
  • April 21, 2018 (2018-04-21) (Tribeca)
  • April 19, 2019 (2019-04-19) (United States)
Running time
105 minutes
  • United States
  • Australia
Box office$150,010[1]

Little Woods is a 2018 American-Australian crime thriller western film, written and directed by Nia DaCosta in her directorial debut. It stars Tessa Thompson, Lily James, Luke Kirby, James Badge Dale and Lance Reddick.

The film focuses on sisters Ollie (Thompson) and Deb (James) who find themselves falling into the illegal world of the cross-border drug trade along the Canada–United States border after their mother dies.

The film had its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival on April 21, 2018. It was released on April 19, 2019 by Neon.


Ollie Hale (Tessa Thompson) is on probation after being caught illegally crossing the border between North Dakota and Canada. She is determined to reinvent her life and with 8 days left on probation she has applied to find work in Spokane. Numerous opportunities to go back to her old way of life, including selling prescription medicine illegally and doing more work at the border, keep presenting themselves though Ollie scraps by doing odd jobs for the construction workers who work nearby.

Ollie's sister Deb, who has become semi-estranged since their mother's illness and death, discovers she is pregnant and turns to Ollie for help. Deb is already a single mother to her son Johnny and is living in an illegally parked trailer. Ollie offers to sign over the title of their mother's house to Deb, however the house is due to be foreclosed on. Ollie manages to negotiate down the downpayment to prevent the foreclosure but the amount of money needed seems insurmountable to the sisters. Ollie is nevertheless determined to insure that Deb is alright before she leaves.

Reluctantly Ollie returns to the woods to retrieve a bag of 500 pills she hid there before crossing, intending to sell them in a week to prevent foreclosure on the house.

At her job interview for the Spokane job, Ollie is attacked by Bill, a local drug dealer angry she is infringing on his territory. He offers her a choice between giving him a 30% cut of her sales or crossing the border for him again. She decides to cut him in, rather than take on the riskier work of crossing the border.

After learning that going through with her pregnancy will cost her upwards of $8000, Deb decides to have an abortion. After learning that the only legal clinic is hundreds of miles away she obtains the name of a local illegal abortion provider. The night Deb is scheduled to go for her abortion the trailer she lives in is towed away along with the rest of the pills and all of the money for the foreclosure which Ollie had been keeping there to hide from her probation officer. After learning that the trailer wasn't even registered in Deb's name Ollie breaks into the pound where she discovers the trailer has already been raided and all the money and drugs are gone.

After learning that Deb wants to have an abortion, Ollie decides to agree to Bill's drug run to Canada in exchange for enough money to secure the house, and determines to take Deb across with her so she'll be able to have a safe and clean abortion.

Though Deb has difficulty obtaining a fake Manitoba ID card she is able to steal one. The crossing is successful and Ollie picks up the drugs while Deb is able to have an abortion. While waiting for Deb to come out of the clinic Ollie learns that the Spokane job is hers. The sisters spend the night in Canada and Ollie tells Deb she is leaving and that Deb will be fine without her. The next morning they cross back into the U.S.



In January 2017, it was announced Tessa Thompson, Lily James, Luke Kirby, James Badge Dale and Lance Reddick joined the cast of the film, with Nia DaCosta directing from a screenplay she wrote. Rachael Fung, Gabrielle Nadig, and Tim Headington will produce.[2][3]


The film had its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival on April 21, 2018.[4][5] Shortly after, NEON acquired distribution rights to the film.[6] It was screened at the Los Angeles Film Festival on September 24, 2018.[7][8] It was released on April 19, 2019.[9]

Critical reception[edit]

Little Woods received positive reviews from film critics. It holds a 96% approval rating on review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, based on 73 reviews, with a weighted average of 7.7/10.[10]


  1. ^ "Little Woods". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved May 17, 2019.
  2. ^ Lodderhouse, Diana (January 12, 2017). "Tessa Thompson & Lily James Head To 'Little Woods'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved June 29, 2018.
  3. ^ Wiseman, Andreas (April 12, 2018). "Tribeca-Bound Western 'Little Woods', Starring Tessa Thompson & Lily James, Scores International Sales Deal". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved June 29, 2018.
  4. ^ Raup, Jordan (March 7, 2018). "Tribeca 2018 Lineup Includes 'Disobedience,' 'The Miseducation of Cameron Post,' 'The Seagull,' and More". The Film Stage. Retrieved June 29, 2018.
  5. ^ "Little Woods". Tribeca Film Festival. Retrieved June 29, 2018.
  6. ^ McNary, Dave (June 14, 2018). "Tessa Thompson-Lily James Western 'Little Woods' Bought by Neon". Variety. Retrieved June 29, 2018.
  7. ^ Hipes, Patrick (August 22, 2018). "Ike Barinholtz & Tiffany Haddish's 'The Oath' To World Premiere At Los Angeles Film Festival". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved August 22, 2018.
  8. ^ "Little Woods". Los Angeles Film Festival. Retrieved August 22, 2018.
  9. ^ Sharf, Zack (January 14, 2019). "'Little Woods' Trailer: Tessa Thompson and Lily James Are Sisters in Serious Trouble". IndieWire. Retrieved January 14, 2019.
  10. ^ "Little Woods (2018)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved April 30, 2019.

External links[edit]