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The story is set in 1962 Louisiana. The Batiste family is headed by charming doctor Louis. Though he is married to beautiful Roz, he has a weakness for attractive female patients. One night Louis trysts with married and sexy Metty Mereaux, not knowing that he is observed by his youngest daughter Eve, who is there by accident. Eve can not forget the traumatic incident and shares a secret with older sister Cisely. Lies start to roll... Written by
A slow and perhaps stretched drama but well crafted and rewarding nonetheless
In 1962 Eve was only about 10 and lived with her family in Louisiana. Her father, Louis, is the popular town doctor who has a beautiful wife and three children (including Eve). However he is too knowing about his popularity with the women in the town and is quite the flirt. When Eve sees him kissing and touching another woman behind their house it distresses her but she is convinced by elder sister Cisely that it was all her misunderstanding of the situation. This is the first of a series of events in her memory that she recalls ended with her killing her father. However, the memory of a child can be such a subjective thing.
Starting with the statement from Eve about her hand in her father's dead, I was ready for a mystery that would be dark and tense but the film left that mystery in the air while going on to be a slower, but just as interesting, story. This is despite the fact that it seems to rely quite heavily on voodoo and similar Southern clichés to move the story forward. Although this gradually becomes less important it is quite obtrusive early on and I found it a little bit off-putting but gradually got over it thanks to the story overcoming it with a real emotional involvement from the characters. The writing of people is strong and the direction is quite assured, even if some of the sets and shot-framing were reminiscent of daytime TVMs (an affect the music doesn't help).
With the characters and their stories well written, it required good performances all round and it is to Lemmons' credit that he draws strong performances from all ages of his cast. Although Jackson is the big name involved, it is really Smollett who won me over. Avoiding the "cute kid" cliché she delivers a really convincing performance that is the heart of the film it is a real weight to carry it, but she does it well. Jackson himself is good, not overplaying his character to the point where we hate him, but just as far as us disliking him for the weakness that he knows he has. Good and Whitfield are both good and they are where the main battle for feminine attention from Louis it is touching to see Good grow and fascinating to see Whitfield respond to it good writing and good acting. Support is roundly good but they have less to do Smith in a minor role, Carson using her ample body, Ayler playing a cliché and Curtis-Hall sporting a haircut that looks like it fell onto him from a tree. However the main performances are so good it doesn't really matter they produce a film that is both emotionally engaging and just about avoids melodrama.
Overall this is a film worth seeing. The story relies a bit too much on voodoo and such, and is rather forced to the extremes of events but it is covered by never losing focus on the characters; characters that are well written and very well performed on the whole. A touch too soapy for some tastes I'm sure but for me it was quite engaging and a very enjoyable little drama.
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