Tuesday, January 12, 2021

If Not Now, When Review: A Powerful All Black Female Led Drama

Joelle Ashley	...	Johanna Tamara Bass	Tamara Bass	...	Patrice (as Tamara LaSeon Bass) Shamicka Benn	Shamicka Benn	...	Clerk Jon Chaffin	Jon Chaffin	...	Trevor Mekia Cox	Mekia Cox	...	Suzanne Li Eubanks	Li Eubanks	...	Teenage Tyra Niles Fitch	Niles Fitch	...	Michael McKinley Freeman	McKinley Freeman	...	Jackson La'Myia Good	La'Myia Good	...	Erica Meagan Good	Meagan Good	...	Tyra Iyana Halley	Iyana Halley	...	Teenage Patrice Edwin Hodge	Edwin Hodge	...	Walter Meagan Holder	Meagan Holder	...	Deidre Josephine Lawrence	Josephine Lawrence	...	Teenage Deidre Amanda Mayfield	Amanda Mayfield	...	Teenage Suzanne

Release date: January 8, 2021
Running time: 114 minutes
Meagan Holder (Fox’s “Pitch”), Mekia Cox (ABC’s “The Rookie”), Tamara Bass, Lexi Underwood (Hulu’s “Little Fires Everywhere”), Niles Fitch (NBC’s “This Is Us”) and Meagan Good
Writer: Tamara Bass
Director: Meagan Good (Think Like a Man) and Tamara Bass (“All That Matters”)

Four friends, who met in high school and are bonded by an event, are suddenly forced back together when one of them suffers a crisis. It’s a story of love, forgiveness and the incredible bond between women.

Tamara Bass	...	producer (as Tamara LaSeon Bass) La'Myia Good	...	associate producer Meagan Good	...	producer James Henderson	...	executive producer Nieman Johnson	...	executive producer Victor Oladipo	...	executive producer Jijo Reed	...	post executive producer Sway	...	producer Rizi Timane	...	producer Datari Turner	...	producer Joyce Washington	...	co-producer     Directed by  Tamara Bass	...	(as Tamara LaSeon Bass) Meagan Good	Writing Credits (in alphabetical order)   Tamara Bass	...	(as Tamara LaSeon Bass)
If Not Now, When is frankly better than the sum of its parts.  It has good writing, with some great scenes and characters, but sometimes it can be a little over dramatic.  It has good acting, with some great scenes and some misses.  And it has a few minor things here an there, audio issues, distracting delivery, small issues that you might expect from first time directors.  But what you do get is an interesting, heartfelt, and refreshing black relationship film that has strong women helping strong women.  The movie has four characters with varying degrees of success trying to live their dreams of life and family, but running into the obstacles that we all run into.  From health, to financial difficulties, to balancing career and family, If Not Now, When presents characters that feel like they have real problems.  

And the best thing is that you have these female lead characters who support each other and are not jealous of each other's success,  but are genuinely happy for each other.  Each main character has had some sort of major wrench thrown in their way, and the film is about how they deal with these individually and together.  It was so refreshing to see a supportive black film with female characters that knew what they wanted.  This felt similar to a female Best Man, but with stronger, more realistic characters.  Sure the film starts off with a little extra drama, and it was tough to get invested in the characters at the start, but after a little bit of time the film really grows on you.  And I loved seeing female characters who don't melt at the sight or whims of a man.  There is one scene where a character prioritizes her own life and career over a life with a seemingly perfect man, which I really appreciated.  

And although the film has lots of emotion, it feels more measured than some of what Hollywood puts out.  You don't have characters that completely break down in the face of crisis, which shows the character's strength and also makes the emotions feel much more real.  The film really caught my attention partway through with a speech by one character.  It is indicative of this whole experience.  The writing is good and there are some audio issues with it such as voice over happening when the character isn't speaking.  But the combination of the message, the character's powerful delivery, and some really beautiful accompanying piano music made me sit up, take notice, and rewatch that speech 3 or 4 times.  And the film is filled with moments like this; powerful moments of self reflection, of characters finding strength in themselves and those around them.  And for that, If Not Now, When should be celebrated for what it tries and succeeds in accomplishing. 

If Not Now, When highlights an all black female led cast with characters that are strong individually and because of each other, with realistic problems and emotional moments. 

Watch it.

drama female women strength strong stronger together black all black film

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If Not Now, When is available digitally and on demand January 8, 2020. 

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