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Miss Juneteenth (2020)
Bringing Visibility to the Struggles of Everyday People
The word sonder is defined as "the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own-populated with their own ambitions, friends, routines, worries . . ." However, most of us are unwilling to take the time to bear witness to, understand, or feel what it's like to truly walk in the shoes of those whose lives are so very different, or perhaps so very much the same as our own. Miss Juneteenth is a beautifully written and directed character study-an intimate, emotional exploration of the enduring and endearing resilience of the Black woman-as told through the seemingly insurmountable challenges that typify the day-to-day life experiences of Turquoise Jones (Nicole Beharie). Her work ethic is palpable, only to be matched by the unwavering, righteous sacrifices she makes to firmly yet lovingly guide her daughter Kai (Alexis Chikaeze) into adulthood; her fortitude so unflappable that her light shines brighter than any star in the Texas night sky. Yet through it all, she remains unequivocally regal, consistently maintaining a calmness, a groundedness, that espouses the attributes of a true queen-in any circumstance, context, time, or place.
June 19, 1865, is not a distant, imperceivable moment in time-a mere 115 years ago and a span of less than 4 generations-yet this country remains in perpetual, delusional denial about the lasting social and economic implications and catastrophic impacts that the institution of slavery continues to exert upon Black lives. The film's backdrop of Fort Worth, Texas, offers viewers a rare and intimate glimpse into the daily lives of working-class Black folk. Their stories are that of persistence, characterized by immense yet fleeting moments of joy, unprecedented achievement, and the power of togetherness amidst the pain and sorrows of uncertainty, are more than worth being told. People's voice is undeniably and artistically emancipatory.
Meticulously shot, clean, modern and minimal
This film worthy of consideration as a true 'work of art'. Meticulously shot, clean, modern and minimal, yet timeless and rich in depth. Layover has a soft, balanced flow that encourages watchers to take a deeper view into their own lives - the now and the tomorrow - without criticism and without prejudice - through a different set of eyes. The actors performances were likened to handwritten, unpretentious pages from someone's personal journal and discovering a brief moment of clarity about ourselves."
One of the most amazing aspects about this film is that is what created with such a small budget. This is an incredible feat and should inspire other filmmakers who do not have the resources once thought necessary, to create their own films.
An amazing, powerful and passionate story that has never been told in this way.
I grew up in the 1980's, seeing firsthand, as a tween on the brink of adolescence, the devastation that crack cocaine had upon individuals and entire communities. Word on the street was that one hit and you were hooked. I already had an addictive personality, (mine were benign and included candy cigarettes and Atari), so I avoided that one hit because of shear fear. Fear was not a factor for those who found themselves helpless once the drug took control of their decisions, their emotions and ultimately their lives.
1982 takes a more intimate approach at telling the story of the very beginnings of the crack epidemic, focusing on a small, working class family that was literally torn apart and yet never fully dismantled because of the relentless, selfless, valiant efforts of Tim Brown (Hill Harper) - a man who would not allow the drug, or the conduits of that drug, to take away from him all that he truly loved and cherished. This included his beautiful wife Shanae (Sharon Leal), his very precocious daughter, Maya (Troi Zee) and his small business dreams.
The film's composition is unhindered by the usual cinematic flash and exploitative folly seen in feature films and is not at all "overly produced," which is quite fitting, considering the context of when the story takes place – a time when everyday life was very different than it is now – the 80s. The cast is top notch; the acting, superb. 1982 takes you for a ride through an emotional labyrinth of which we were uncertain to find escape, solace or safety. 1982 glues you to your seat bringing you to level of emotional investment and "presence" as the story painfully plays out on the big screen.
There are so many things I found striking about this film that this short review could easily mimic a thesis-driven cinematic analysis, so let me point out I personally found both significant and endearing – the lessons we can learn about enabling, blame and forgiveness – the complex, interwoven trio often found in situations where substance abuse is omnipresent in the very fabric of everyday life. Many of us are enablers, but we do it out of love, although its consequences result in quite the opposite. We all look for someone, something to blame in times of crisis and turmoil but often find ourselves empty-handed. We all challenge ourselves to truly forgive, because it is the only TRUE resolution, but our ego often stands in the way.
1982 both addresses and demonstrates how we can best share those lessons with children, in a meaningful way that does not belittle their feelings or disregard their own unique insight and perspectives on such intense, life-changing situations. The film provides a lens from which to view the micro dynamics of a macro level problem and clearly communicates our collective role, as members of a society - as members of a family - in the emergence and pervasiveness of the substance abuse. More importantly, 1982 offers strong messages about the efficacy of hope and the power of love – ingredients combined to form the ultimate
Silver Linings Playbook (2012)
A meaningful and entertaining portrayal of 'real life'
With De Niro on cast, how can you go wrong? I walked in with on expectations and very little known about the movie - it was all on a whim. I walked out with (admittedly) watery eyes and a renewed faith in the power of basic human relationships.
This film was so well-balanced in its writing, exploration of micro and macro issues and quality acting that I was so engaged and drawn in I felt strong emotions for each and every character in the film. It has been some time since I have seen a film in the theater that so moved me to write an online review. Hats off to everyone involved in this film -you should be proud. Bradley Cooper is top notch.