HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
American Fiction
Poor Things
Thunderclap
Zeiram
Legend of the Bat
Party Line
Night Fright
Pacha, Le
Kimi
Assemble Insert
Venus Tear Diamond, The
Promare
Beauty's Evil Roses, The
Free Guy
Huck and Tom's Mississippi Adventure
Rejuvenator, The
Who Fears the Devil?
Guignolo, Le
Batman, The
Land of Many Perfumes
Cat vs. Rat
Tom & Jerry: The Movie
Naked Violence
Joyeuses Pacques
Strangeness, The
How I Became a Superhero
Golden Nun
Incident at Phantom Hill
Winterhawk
Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City
Maigret Sets a Trap
B.N.A.
Hell's Wind Staff, The
Topo Gigio and the Missile War
Battant, Le
Penguin Highway
Cazadore de Demonios
Snatchers
Imperial Swordsman
Foxtrap
   
 
Newest Articles
3 From Arrow Player: Sweet Sugar, Girls Nite Out and Manhattan Baby
Little Cat Feat: Stephen King's Cat's Eye on 4K UHD
La Violence: Dobermann at 25
Serious Comedy: The Wrong Arm of the Law on Blu-ray
DC Showcase: Constantine - The House of Mystery and More on Blu-ray
Monster Fun: Three Monster Tales of Sci-Fi Terror on Blu-ray
State of the 70s: Play for Today Volume 3 on Blu-ray
The Movie Damned: Cursed Films II on Shudder
The Dead of Night: In Cold Blood on Blu-ray
Suave and Sophisticated: The Persuaders! Take 50 on Blu-ray
Your Rules are Really Beginning to Annoy Me: Escape from L.A. on 4K UHD
A Woman's Viewfinder: The Camera is Ours on DVD
Chaplin's Silent Pursuit: Modern Times on Blu-ray
The Ecstasy of Cosmic Boredom: Dark Star on Arrow
A Frosty Reception: South and The Great White Silence on Blu-ray
You'll Never Guess Which is Sammo: Skinny Tiger and Fatty Dragon on Blu-ray
Two Christopher Miles Shorts: The Six-Sided Triangle/Rhythm 'n' Greens on Blu-ray
Not So Permissive: The Lovers! on Blu-ray
Uncomfortable Truths: Three Shorts by Andrea Arnold on MUBI
The Call of Nostalgia: Ghostbusters Afterlife on Blu-ray
Moon Night - Space 1999: Super Space Theater on Blu-ray
Super Sammo: Warriors Two and The Prodigal Son on Blu-ray
Sex vs Violence: In the Realm of the Senses on Blu-ray
What's So Funny About Brit Horror? Vampira and Bloodbath at the House of Death on Arrow
Keeping the Beatles Alive: Get Back
   
 
  Babymother She Shall Have Music Wherever She Goes
Year: 1998
Director: Julian Henriques
Stars: Anjela Lauren Smith, Wil Johnson, Caroline Chikezie, Jocelyn Jee Esien, Don Warrington, Tameka Empson, Diane Bailey, Vas Blackwood, Andrea Francis, Anton Rice, Saffron Lashley, Corinne Skinner-Carter, Suzette Llewellyn, Buckley Ranks
Genre: Musical, Drama, TV MovieBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Anita (Anjela Lauren Smith) is the mother to two young children by their professional singer father Byron (Wil Johnson), but he is not always around as he has to go on tour and has other motives for wandering from her. She harbours a desire to join him on the stage, or even strike out on her own and become an artist herself, but when he invites her to do so she is hampered by nerves and refuses. However, at one big concert for Byron where he is going down a storm, Anita decides, yes, she could do this just as well as her partner does - but will he be her partner for much longer when she realises how friendly he is with his female fans?

Babymother was a television movie designed to be shown on Channel 4, which in 1998 was not mostly reality TV and people commenting on reality TV, but produced its fair share of drama as well. This was proudly proclaimed as Britain's first black musical, cast as it was with an entirely black group of actors, some of whom went on to very respectable careers – Caroline Chikezie and Jocelyn Jee Esien did very well on the small screen, for instance, after appearing here as Anita's pals, as did Tameka Empson as her rival. EastEnders may be looked down on by some of the potential audience, but it did provide regular gigs for many performers.

Indeed, Babymother was looked down on as well, from a great height, at that, perhaps predictably as it took as its heroine a black single mother who seems to be more engaged with her potential showbiz career than she is looking after her kids. Couple that to a very basic rags to riches narrative that had been done to death down the decades, and still is to this day for that matter, and it was as if director and co-writer Julian Henriques was setting himself up for a fall, victim to all sorts of prejudices from the audience who would dismiss the project out of hand. For that reason it is possible to feel protective towards Babymother, at least for what it did differently.

Fair enough, you would not see the fashions the characters wear on many London streets, or anywhere outside of some Afrofuturist alien planet, with its emphasis on material like waterproof plastic or spangly bra tops apparently just the thing to go down the shops in this parallel world, but it did give the proceedings a distinction in its imagery that on a low budget was not such an outrageous idea. Sure, some of the scenes were purely in the kitchen sink tradition, but how far would that apply when your protagonist is stuck in domestic drudgery while sporting shiny turquoise slacks? Again, some found this ridiculous, but it was a visual reminder that Anita regarded herself as a celebrity even before she had attained that level in society.

Every so often, the characters would mime to nineties reggae and dancehall on the soundtrack, and if the dancing was not exactly In the Heights, there was a similar style of placing a spring of colour and music against the backdrop of grey, urban cityscape in a contrast that told us anywhere can be the source of brightness and exuberance, all you needed were the right personalities to create that atmosphere. True, Anita was not always great company, she is selfish and petulant when events do not go her way, and we wonder if she is neglecting her children in favour of some self-important quest to follow an idealistic goal experience teaches us will more likely not finish in fame and fortune. But if the tunes were too polished to be believable as live, they were well-produced, and would have appealed to viewers of her age at the time, if now more of a nostalgia piece. This was at least as notable as the Streetdance movies of the following decade. Music by John Lunn.

[The BFI release Babymother on Blu-ray with these special features:

Presented in High Definiton
We the Ragamuffin (1992, 26 mins): Julian Henriques' urban musical shot and set in Peckham
Julian Henriques and Parminder Vir on Babymother (2021, 44 mins): the director and producer talk about the film's genesis and production history
Anjela Lauren Smith in conversation with Corrina Antrobus (2021, 49 mins): the actress discusses her part as Anita
Carroll Thompson in conversation with Rogan Graham (2021, 32mins): the singer and songwriter discusses her role as music consultant on the film
Archive Q&A / Babymother gallery (2021, 28 mins: an archive Q&A with the filmmakers from 1998 which plays over a selection of images
We the Ragamuffin gallery
Trailer.]
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 1405 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
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
Enoch Sneed
  Louise Hackett
Darren Jones
Mark Le Surf-hall
Andrew Pragasam
Mary Sibley
Graeme Clark
  Desbris M
   

 

Last Updated: