A former boyfriend once told me that when it came to love I might be blind, but I definitely wasn’t stupid. Neither are movie goers as 2020 is shaping up to be the year of ‘black love’ in cinema. Right on the heels of the hugely successful release of Stella Meghie’s ‘The Photograph’ get ready to bask in the glow of Rashad Ernesto Green’s Premature co written by its leading lady, Zora Howard.
The film, which made it’s debut at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year, had tongues wagging with it’s gentle, coming-of-age story centered on Ayanna (Zora Howard), Isaiah (Joshua Boone) and their love connection during her last summer before heading off to college.
There seems to have be a conscious effort in the last few years to re-focus the stories of African-Americans as loving, warm, beautiful beings and not criminals, maids, hookers or slaves.
When we meet Ayanna on the subway with her girls (Alexis Marie Wint, Imani Lewis and Tashiana Washington) she and Isaiah seem to have instant chemistry, which turns out to be problematic at best. Infused with elements of some our favorite films like Poetic Justice and Love Jones, Premature shows young love from the female POV when faced with a dilemma no young woman wants to be in and how that ultimately colors her future, maturity and beginnings of a relationship gone awry. Yet, facing it all at the tender young age of 17 years old and dealing with the complications of being involved with an older guy who has his own set of issues.
Howard keeps you invested in Ayanna, whose pride and vulnerability feel like a huge gift-wrapped love letter to millennials in how not every man is worthy until you find worth within yourself. Many of us believe hair can sometimes hold negative energy. When that occurs, there’s only one thing left to do – the big chop! So, that moment when Ayanna cuts her hair, perfectly symbolizes how a women decides it is time for a new look, new love, new life and new chapter. It’s easily one of my favorite moments of the film.
Boone (Isaiah) is charming, but when that mask slips, baby,,,it cracks in a zillion pieces placing a glaring spotlight on the anxieties and burdens of being a young black man in love and lust with multiple women simultaneously.
Yet, they both learn to find their way and their ending is very reminiscent to their beginning. Or is it? As we watch Ayanna prepare for that train ride to college – Isaiah appears and we are left wondering will she take him back? Will he beg forgiveness or will they agree to move on in life and with each other ? You decide for yourself when it hits screens on February 21 via IFC Films.