Films like Christian Nolan Jones’ Glitter ain’t gold are hard to come by. It’s even rarer because it’s a short film. This “coming of age” story explores a society without any celebration.

Jibril (played by Alfred R Lewis III) is a small child who lives in a natural setting with rites of passage that are unique, sometimes deadly. This is completely accepted by the director. He depicts it as a simple backdrop in which a human story unfolds.

As soon as we’re in this surreal, ethereal setting, Jibril’s story begins. An 8th grader, he only cares about impressing his classmate, a female one at that. Her loyalty and frankness make her a perfect match for his best buddy, Towanda.

She laughs and frowns when he suggests that he wants to start a chain. She knows he’ll do anything to get what he wants. Jibril is faced with his first major life decision after a trip to the local flea market. I’m not going to tell you what happens next.


An impressive coming-of-age picture, Glitter Ain’t Gold emphasizes the significance of Jibril’s surroundings, placing him in charge of something far larger than himself. The confidence comes when he’s with adults he admires unwittingly. However, Towanda serves as a necessary counterweight.

Others object to the girl’s (Preah Ferguson) interpretation. But she persuades Jibril to do something for her in the flea market. Aspects of the film’s portrayal of actual interactions will lead the viewer to trust the characters’ intentions. This can only work in the film if the actors provide great performances.

It’s Jibril, the film’s central character, and his frantic attempt to be someone he’s never been. However, the irony is that the acquisition of something will perhaps make him feel more like he belongs in an elite echelon. In his mind, he’s not bothered by it. However shameful it may feel, he can’t see beyond the promise of young love. A reality that Tawanda is forcing him to confront is one that he does not want to face. The film’s most grounded scene is in the final scene. One man’s falsehood is another man’s hopeless deception.


It’s not like I’ve ever had any. Glitter Ain’t Gold is a retelling of the universal story of a love gone wrong. We already know Jibril will fail if confronted. Even when the circumstances may not support it, we go along with him because of his lovely character and intention. We all want him to win, but what’s the true prize at the end of the day?

The brief Glitter ain’t gold serves as an obvious prelude to something more substantial. The film’s director leaves many unsolved questions. Possibly the film’s abrupt finale will leave you with a bitter taste in your mouth. I’d like to believe Jibril isn’t deserving of any worse treatment. It’s possible that this is only a teaser for a longer film.

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