IF YOU HAVE AN INNOCENT LOOKING face chances are you will go through life with less obstacles on your path. I believe this to be true because I learned it in school. At the time I was not cognizant of such a thing, but I was a quick learner. There were certain students in school who would always get in trouble with their teachers, some rightfully so. One look at these students’ faces and you would immediately blame them for disruptive behavior in class. I on the other hand had an innocent looking face or to be more exact, could put on an innocent looking face. At the time I did not realize I had this capability. You see I could not only keep a straight face, but if needed put on a great smile accompanied by deep set dimples. There was a period of time where I was mischievous in the classroom. I would throw paper clips at students’ heads who were sitting in front of me. They would turn around to see who threw it but would not be able to tell which student did it. First, no one would say anything and second, I would look as if I was engrossed in our class assignment. Having this new-found awareness and watching the teachers taught me “looks” plays a big part in a person’s perceptions of someone. WHAT I DID NOT TELL YOU about the paperclip story has to do with the student who sat next to me. If my paperclip throwing started accusations being thrown at random classmates, the teacher would single out this student next to me. Because he had a face that spelled out trouble he was the first choice a teacher would pick to reprimand, simply based on his looks. As I said earlier I was not aware of this type of discrimination early on, but I soon realized it was taking place all around me. I even witness it today in my own fitness classes. If a person who is overweight walks into my class, some members will give them a certain look that I have learned means they think the person is lazy and out of shape. Without knowing a thing about the person, members around will make judgments and be somewhat stand-offish. It is so rude of the class participants. Pretty much anywhere I go I can find you examples of people making such rash judgments; but there is no need for me to do it, let this film festival winning comedic drama show you. WITH ONLY THREE DAYS LEFT ON his probation Collin, played by Daveed Diggs (Wonder, Black-ish-TV), wanted to make sure nothing would happen that would land him back in jail. His best friend Miles, played by relative newcomer Rafael Casal, seemed to think it was all a joke. With Janina Gavankar (White Orchid, The League-TV) as Val, Jasmine Cephas Jones (Mistress America, Titus) as Ashley and Ethan Embry (Sweet Home Alabama, Grace and Frankie-TV) as Officer Molina; the script for this movie tackled a familiar topic in a whole new way. Kudos to Daveed and Rafael for writing such a piece. I thought the acting was excellent and enjoyed how the comedy and drama easily blended together. It was important that it did that because I feel viewers would have gotten more uncomfortable with the film and stop thinking about what was taking place on screen. I did not care for the last portion of the movie and thought a particular rap scene could have had more impact without the rhyming. However, I will say I give them credit for doing something different. This film grew on me the more I thought about it. As they say never judge a book by its cover.
3 ¼ stars
How many of us as little kids fantasized about whom we would share our life with when we grew up? I am sure there were a multitude looking for their Prince Charming, Princess Jasmine, Superman or even their Wonder Woman. I have a cousin who used to insist she was adopted and that she would return to her royal birthright when she found her prince. There are some people who believe they can rise in status by marrying the right individual. But what if you belonged to a culture where there was a strong divide between the classes? This film’s story was an updated version of Thomas Hardy’s novel, Tess and the d’Urbervilles, set in India. Trishna, played by Freida Pinto (Slumdog Millionaire, Immortals) came from a poor rural family. As the movie started I was surprised with the opening scenes showing a group of guys partying, wondering where the writers were taking this tale. One of the friends named Jay, played by Riz Ahmed (Four Lions, The Road to Guantanamo), happened to notice Trishna. From this chance meeting began a slow transition into the beginnings of a love relationship. Jay, the son of a wealthy Indian businessman, was the perfect gentleman at first; however, as the movie progressed the budding romance between the two took on a sinister flavor. Freida was lovely in this role as her rural upbringing clashed with Jay’s upper class sensibilities. I was lost though on Jay’s character development, never fully understood his motives. The story broke apart halfway through for me and I lost my interest in the unfolding events. It was a good idea bringing the story into a modern setting, in an exotic locale; but it needed more drama and explanation to make it a good movie. There were a couple of scenes that showed blood.
2 1/2 stars