Updated: Apr 24
So, I never wanted to be a film reviewer, but I love film. Not just the idea of it, but the nuances, the choices, the journey that a good film takes you on. Now as a filmmaker, that love of film has taken me to festivals all over the world and exposed me to films that have literally changed my life. I am one of those filmmakers that actually enjoys watching the other films at a festival and studying them. Films that I realize, in most cases, won’t ever be seen by the mass public. Most of my friends won’t know what I’m talking about over dinner, unless the film makes it to Netflix. (Bless you Netflix for your indie love!). So this week, reading tweets about another indie film that may not be seen by many, I felt compelled to do my part. Go see it and at least share the word on this film and others like it. Ones you see at festivals and don’t know what will happen to, but you cross your fingers and say a little prayer for the filmmaking teams that they will make out to the world, find distribution, get a theatrical release (however limited) and stream all over the world, making their money back and opening doors for the filmmakers to make more films just like it. So, here’s to films not just living on their makers hard drives, but to make it to the world!
First, I wanted to think of my rules. I have no interest in bashing films or filmmakers. Again, as a filmmaker, I know the pain, the blood, sweat and tears it takes to birth these babies we call films. Who am I to tell a filmmaker that their baby is ugly? I just say "Bless their heart" like my Grandma would and move on. If you shouldn’t see it, I won’t talk about it; but, if it touches me, I promise to share, with hopes that others will do the same. We are in this together!
Today's topic, my first review, Fast Color starring Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Lorraine Toussaint, and Saniyya Sidney. Directed by second time director Julia Hart and co-written with her husband and producer Jordan Horowitz.
THE BUSINESS: This film premiered at SXSW, was picked up by Code Black Films and will apparently only have a one week theatrical release. The producer Jordan Horowitz tweeted “While PR and reviews have been solid, there’s simply not awareness.” They are unsure about the next steps after the theatrical run, but will “see what they can do about getting it more widely available as soon as possible.” This is what touched my heart, made me look up the film and buy tickets to see it last night. It wasn’t at my usual theater, but was worth the drive to support the cause.
Fast Color's IMDB logline says, "A woman is forced to go on the run when her superhuman abilities are discovered. Years after having abandoned her family, the only place she has left to hide is home." We follow three generations of strong and dynamic Black women through this film which is as much about their relationship as it is about superpowers. What I love about the film is the delicate balance of the sacrifice for family that can pull us a part when all we really want is to be back together. Home is the only place in the film where they can heal, despite the danger that being at home can bring. As an indie film, there are no Marvel explosions, but rather it is a patiently paced emotional examination of the journey, but the use of special effects to bring to life their powers is smartly saved for a few pivotal scenes where they have the most impact. Those effects are so beautifully done they make you smile and wish to see the colors in your own life and run with the light. Gugu is amazing in her role as the severely broken Ruth carrying so much guilt along with an incredible will to survive. Saniyya Sidney shines as Ruth's smart and willful daughter, Lila and Lorraine Toussaint.... Well just saying her name makes me feel like I need to genuflect. She is acting royalty, so I knew she would be amazing, but she brought so much authenticity and integrity to her role as Bo, that she becomes every Mama out there. Overall, I'd recommend seeing Fast Color. It leaves me with the same beautiful magic and mystery that I loved in Kin released last year starring Myles Truitt, Jack Reynor and Dennis Quaid or Sleight released in 2016 staring Jacob Latimer and Storm Reid.
SPOILERS ... I wish for a different ending for Fast Color, but that is a testament to the family bonds explored and cemented in the film for us. I won't say more, go see it and tell me what you think.
Fast Color is playing in my area at AMC through Wednesday, April 25, 2019. Check to see if it is near you and GO SEE IT!
Go indie film!