I saw this movie a lil late which is okay, because when you see a movie without any new hype or buzz around it, you can just kinda quietly settle into it without any real preconceived notions or expectations, be it negative or positive. Those that know me, know that I’m a movie guy, by which I mean that I love movies. And not just the ones with happy endings where everyone is naked, but those are awesome nonetheless.
Anywho, let’s move on to our movie review. Before I start, I want to point out that I have not thought out what I’ll include in my review, but I’m almost certain that spoilers will occur. This is simply a review of what I think of the movie, not so much the deeper underlying meanings and metaphors that we sometimes as viewers make up as we watch a movie. I’ll also stay away from references to other artworks that may show up in this picture. Those things are fun ot talk about, but I won’t be doing that today.
The movie is a romantic comedy, written by Courtney Lilly who is a very talented comic writer and directed by Jennifer Sharp. The jokes in the film are all very clever and don’t stoop low to get a laugh. Since race is an overt issue, there are many jokes that play off of several racial stereotypes, but not to the point of buffoonery or coonery. The direction is also exemplary, moving the movie along at a nice steady pace. I think the scenes were well directed and the editing was smooth with some good use of jump cuts. The plot is great and drives the story without any pit stops. I really enjoyed this movie and wish it would have reached a larger audience. I’d like to see these characters in some other flicks and see more of Courtney Lilly’s work.
Let’s look at the title. I’ve read some of the IMBD reviews, and a few folks seem to take issue with the title. While I understand, I rather think that it’s quite appropriate, even if it does sound like a movie starring the Wayans brothers. Sure it may be the reason why this movie didn’t go as far as it should have, but I do get the title – I think. The title may seem dumb to some, but it does have a deeper meaning (as most titles often do) and it is fitting because part of the message of the movie is not to judge a book (or movie) by it’s cover (or title). The good thing about this movie is that the race thing never gets too heavy or over bearing. It’s just right.
So, this movie is about this black dude that does not behave like the stereotypical black dude. I know it’s starting off lame, but bare with me. Okay, let’s get back to the not-so-black dude and look at what makes him not so black. Well, he has a job. As non-black as that sounds it doesn’t stop there. His job is drawing graphic novels, as in comic books. He has an apartment, but no car, which also means that he has no rims. He smokes cigarettes out of cigarette holders instead of weed out of blunts. He also wears clothes that fit him. And he says “frig!” instead of “gotdamned mutha fukcka!” when he encounters a problem. Oh yeah and the minor issue of only dating white women because he feels he cannot compete with the types of dudes that most black chicks are into.
When we meet Jay, who’s played by Anthony Montgomery, he’s busy writing a break-up letter to his lover while she’s is in the shower. He seems to be kinda sorta living there as, he is packing some of his shit, the bulk of which are toys – clearly a hint to his maturity or lack thereof. As he makes a break for it, the scene cuts back and forth to several other white girls reading similar break-up letters. This is apparently Jays signature style for breaking hearts. Jay himself is not a bad-looking guy, not to self-absorbed, cocky, or flashy. Just a back hipster slacker kinda guy. His exes are also not super hot. Just regular looking girls. Some cute, some average, and some that were clearly only cast because this was a small independent film.
Next up we have who I consider to be his best friend, Matt, played by Ryan Alosio. Matt is white and has no job and lives off unemployment benefits, which is another play on race reversal. Then we have Drake, played by Lamman Rucker, who is getting married to J.C., played by Kellee Stewart. Jay is Drake’s best man, but I consider Matt to be his best friend. Jay and Drake seem to be childhood friends that have drifted apart over the years and moved on to separate social classes in life. Drake and J.C. are both lawyers. Matt and Jay are both slackers. So, here we have the main cast of characters, besides, which may very well be, the strongest character of the film, Catherine, played by Lia Johnson, who is also the co-producer along with her sister Phyllis. Catherine is a published author that’s getting some buzz and is also one of J.C. clients and that’s how she and Jay eventually meet. And once they meet Jay is struck, they eventually connect, and form a pretty quirky yet good relationship.
Even though their relationship seems to be wonderful to everyone looking in, it has it’s issues. But which relationships don’t? Catherine seems to be almost too perfect and Jay starts to panic. He writes her a break-up letter and makes a run for it. And that’s when we realize that it’s not because all his past girlfriends have been white that his past relationships didn’t work out, but rather that he cannot commit to a relationship, thus revealing hat he really is black. So, since this movie is a romantic comedy he has to lose the girls, which he does. We all know the formula for this genre, but you are left wondering if boys gets girl back in this movie, which he kinda manages to do at the end. I could go into a pretty detailed synopsis of this movie, but I just decided that I’d rather have you check out the flick itself by going to it’s website: TurnSoul.com or streaming directly from Amazon.