Director: Regina King
Cast: Aldis Hodge, Kingsley Ben-Adir, Eli Goree, Leslie Odom, Jr.
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What a great launch to Regina King’s directorial debut of a full length feature (she did direct a few episodes of tv shows in 2019 and before that I believe). Furthermore, what a film to have available during 1. The current racial climate of our nation, and 2. Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend. Shoutout should also be given to Kimberly Hardin who was the casting director for this film–well done! I honesty don’t know what else to say to segue into my scoring and takeaways, so let’s just get right to it.
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Below are my grades for key components in #OneNightInMiami that I find to be key in any story/film—Theme, Plot, Pacing, and Character Arc/Development. I think it is also important for me to add that moving forward, I will not include a plus-rating, but will continue with minus-ratings.
Additionally, I have added an entertainment factor scale to help you determine whether or not the film is something you’d be interested in taking time out of your weekend, evening, or day to watch. The scale range consists of: Worth the Watch, Interesting Enough (if looking for something new to start), & Don’t Rush.
I have also added a few non-spoiling thoughts, wonderings, and comments as I watched the film to help give some rationale for my grades and entertainment scale.
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Character Arc/Development: A-
Entertainment Factor: Worth the Watch
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My Takeaways—(BOLD = Thumbs Up/Pluses, & Relaxed = Thumbs Down/Lacking):
1. I appreciated the opening vignettes to help really ground one of the key themes of the films.
2. My only character arc/development dilemma was Jim Brown. He was definitely a well delivered foil and confidante character, but there were certain actions displayed by him that seemed to just exaggerate an aura of hyper-masculinity that weren’t really necessary, nor part of understanding him via his vignette.
3. One of the most powerful moments in the film took place on the roof. Phew!
4. This film has some of the best scenes of dialogue, by far!
5. Leslie Odom, Jr. came and did what the hell he had to do! LOL He sang his ass off so effortlessly.
6. The ACTING! My goodness! These men DELIVERT! (yes, with a T LOL). Do you hear me!?
7. Brother Kareem… though the part was small, I was surprisingly drawn to his character. He was definitely meant to be a metaphor or idea of something very important that I can’t quite put my finger on, but it was delivered well.
8. I appreciated this different take/perspective on the civil rights era. Too often, our (Black) stories begin from a place of pain/trauma/drama (as worded in Dr. Gholdy Muhammad’s book Cultivating Genius), so to have a story that begins from varying feelings of “joy” felt good.
9. Jeremy Pope! ❤ ❤
10. AND to piggyback off of #8: yes, this film had a purpose of elevating the conversations around what it means to be Black and active in this movement for equality, equity, and justice; but it ALSO served a purpose of displaying Black male vulnerability, compassion, and sensitivity.
11. There was something subtle, yet powerful about having the 2 very specific men have moments in the restroom while in the midst of being discussed.
12. In the context of a simple “friend circle,” Malcolm was SOOOOO petty for coming back into the room to play 2 snippets of those records to prove a point! LOL LOL LMAO Woooooow!
13. Speaking of “anxious”, that damn camera moment! O_O Yooooooo! I was with Malcolm! LOL
14. Um… Eli Goree… that body…that booty in clothes! LOL Yessss! #StackedZaddy!
15. There were so many small details that just made me so anxious about what to expect from the plot.
16. Another hidden beauty of this film are the small, inside jokes of Black folk that as an audience member I was definitely thinking, and then one of the characters would literally mention it/put it on the table as a means to engaging in a bigger issue related to it. Because that moment between Jim and Malcolm at the table… … LOL LOL LOL
17. AAAAAND to piggyback off of #10: Just the level of Black male existentialism–this Black, male ontology, if you will–that we also get from seeing these 4 Black men portraying 4 very specific Black figures in very vulnerable, compassionate, and sensitive ways was very refreshing and necessary.
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Overall, #OneNightIinMiami does a great job of providing such a colorful, fun, and well-paced story with socially and societally critical intentionality. Additionally, the casting was superb! Kingsley Ben-Adir and Leslie Odom, Jr should definitely be in conversations around award recognition this year. #Periodt!