Newest Reviews
Intergalactic Adventures of Max Cloud, The
Spoilers, The
Killer Therapy
Man Upstairs, The
Bloodhound, The
New Mutants, The
Flame of New Orleans, The
Ham on Rye
Imperial Blue
August 32nd on Earth
Don is Dead, The
Seven Sinners
Body of Water
About Endlessness
Let It Snow
Deliver Us from Evil
Shark Attack 3: Megalodon
Midnight Sky, The
Lego Star Wars Holiday Special, The
Mon Oncle Antoine
Blast of Silence
Blackout, The
Stars in Your Eyes
Climate of the Hunter
Farewell Amor
Let's Scare Julie
Okko's Inn
Shaolin vs. Wu Tang
Butt Boy
Dog of Flanders, The
Bushido Blade, The
Jiu Jitsu
Newest Articles
Network Double Bills: Seance on a Wet Afternoon and Ring of Spies
Chaney Chillers: Inner Sanctum Mysteries - The Complete Film Series on Blu-ray
Adelphi Extras: Stars in Your Eyes on Blu-ray
Toons for the Heads: Fantastic Planet and Adult Animation
Nature Girl: The New World on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Perfect Friday and Robbery
Network Double Bills: The House in Nightmare Park and The Man Who Haunted Himself
Newley Minted: The Strange World of Gurney Slade on Blu-ray
Bad Love: The Night Porter on Blu-ray
Brevity is the Soul of Weird: Short Sharp Shocks on Blu-ray
Get Your Ass to Mars: Total Recall on Blu-ray
Call the Professionals: Le Cercle Rouge on Blu-ray
When There's No More Room in Hell: Dawn of the Dead on Blu-ray
The Butterfly Effect: Mothra on Blu-ray
Living Room Theatre: Play for Today Volume 1 on Blu-ray
Didn't He Do Well: The Bruce Forsyth Show on DVD
Blood Wedding: The Bride with White Hair on Blu-ray
The Inhuman Element: The Ladykillers on 4K UHD
As You Like It, Baby: Breathless on Blu-ray
Stargazing: Light Entertainment Rarities on DVD
Down to the Welles: Orson Welles Great Mysteries Volume 2 on DVD
Herding Cats: Sleepwalkers on Blu-ray
Confessions of a Porn Star: Adult Material on DVD
They're Still Not Sure It is a Baby: Eraserhead on Blu-ray
Werewolves are Real: Dog Soldiers on Digital
  Farewell Amor Reunited And It Feels So Bad
Year: 2020
Director: Ekwa Msangi
Stars: Ntare Guma Mbaho Mwine, Zainab Jah, Jayme Lawson, Joie Lee, Nana Mensah, Marcus Scribner, Khalilah Daye, Dylan Flashner, Amy Hohn, Majah Hype, Imani Lewis, Kristen Maxwell, Joel Michaely, Chrisanthos Petsilas, Rayshawn Richardson, Terrence Shingler
Genre: DramaBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: Walter (Ntare Guma Mbaho Mwine) hasn't seen his wife and daughter for a whole seventeen years, and that is because he left them behind in Angola after the civil war made it difficult for him to stay - but they could not attain immigration papers as he did, so were unable to follow him to New York City, where he has spent the last near-two decades working as a taxi driver. But now, the wife Esther (Zainab Jah) and daughter Sylvia (Jayme Lawson) have been granted admittance to the United States, and with a mixture of trepidation and excitement, he meets them at the airport. Certainly Esther is pleased to see him again, though Sylvia is more wary, and the fact he is welcoming them to a cramped apartment indicates their circumstances could be better...

The immigration experience was what concerned writer and director Ekwa Msangi, and she drew her storyline from a real set of circumstances that had happened to an uncle of hers: he was allowed to move to America from Tanzania, but her aunt and cousin were not, effectively breaking up the family. She could have turned this into a tale of heartstring-tugging woe, but while it eventually was undeniably moving, she was more practical than that despite the way she was keen to tie up every loose end she was able to. Yet there was a strong theme here that would resonate not only with immigrants, but with anyone who has felt the discomfort of the outsider, of being other, in that it concerned itself with what was actually desired by any reasonable newcomer.

That being a need for acceptance, so that while this yarn was not focusing itself with what happens when the immigrant is rejected by their new home, which as we know can go horribly wrong, it was not shy about representing the experience of how alien you can feel, even after seventeen years in the fresh location, as Walter does. There was tension in his relationship with Esther, not solely because they have been apart for so long, but because he has had to break it off with his girlfriend (Nana Mensah) because obviously his wife would never understand this arrangement. The girlfriend is resentful, and the wife begins to suspect Walter was not as celibate as she was in all their time away, which leads her to double down on her religious faith in what could have been material for a grim drama.

Indeed, you are worried throughout that there is, if not tragedy, then real heartache to be suffered before the film concludes, as the religious aspect begins to dominate; the film was divided into three sections, each concentrating on the three separate family members and giving their personalities room to breathe. This additional insight sees Sylvia pursue a love of dance, gearing up for a contest that she knows her mother would deeply disapprove of, while Walter desperately misses his girlfriend (somewhat creepily, he stashes her bedsheets in a bag in his cupboard so he can sniff them in secret). But it is Esther's faith that has the power not to unite them, but tear them apart, as she keeps money they really need to send back to the church in Africa, mistakenly believing she can buy God's love with generosity when she's damaging her links to her husband and child with her fundamentalism, where she would be better to show love and, yes, acceptance to them instead. A sweet narrative in conclusion, and with excellent performances across the board (Lawson seemingly headed for bigger things, for instance), it was a small film, but worthwhile. Music by Osei Essed.

[Click here to watch on MUBI.]
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


This review has been viewed 193 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

Review Comments (0)

Untitled 1

Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
Stately Wayne Manor
Enoch Sneed
  Geraint Morgan
Paul Smith
  Lee Fiveash


Last Updated: