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Living in Mt. Roskill, Auckland, Nana Maria struggles to get her grandchildren together for a traditional Fijian feast in which she means to name her successor as Matriarch. Film runs over about a 18 hour or so period of time. Written by
A rough gem but a gem nonetheless. Slow going at first, as you wonder what it is with these people. Is there any hope? Has this extended family (apparently) totally lost their way in life? Then as you learn bits of the family history, the high walls and broken bridges separating the family start making sense, and you can see possibilities of reconciliation.
Ruby Dee plays (magnificently) the Polynesian matriarch, living in Mt. Roskill, Auckland NZ, for most her life, who knows what's wrong with her scattered cantankerous family and can see the one path that just might set things right -- a little "tough love", Polynesian style. Even though no one else can see the sense in it, they obediently carry out her demand for a family feast in the backyard, to happen that same evening, at which she will announce her successor. All must attend, even those who never come round.
Preparation for the improbable feast involves everyone, and in the process forces communication that's been avoided for years. But they pull it off, because after all, Mama may have lost her marbles but she is still the matriarch. The result is memorable, and validates her foresight.
The film is also, by the way, a great glimpse of suburban New Zealand life, Samoan (or Tongan, not sure) style. See it just for that, and enjoy the story too.
5 of 6 people found this review helpful.
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