Kenae Frazier | Contributing Writer
Netflix dropped the film adaptation of Trisha R. Thomas novel “Nappily Ever After.” This film for lack of better speaking, was hard to comb through.
We meet a seemingly successful advertisement executive Violet Jones (Sanaa Lathan) who is uberly obsessed with being perfect and embodying society’s view of “beautiful.” She believes that her perfection starts with her hair and manifests into the rest of her personality.
Jones was taught this by her mother, Paulette (Lynn Whitfield), who trains her to be the perfect doting woman for any man to marry. She finds a wedding ring in her boyfriend’s pocket and goes out of her way too plan the perfect birthday party for herself in anticipation that he will propose to her.
Jones' bubble is blown when at her birthday party, her man of two years, Clint (Ricky Whittle), decides to get her a dog instead of the engagement ring she was expecting. She confronts him about it and he reminded her that he really doesn’t know her enough to marry her and is over her “too perfect."
Jones then goes through a series of errors and does some soul searching to find herself and love what she sees in the mirror beyond her vanity and the need to be perfect and beautiful.
Notice the word “perfect” is used a lot. Well, the movie was far from perfection. This movie is garnered towards a black audience or anyone who has ever struggled with their identities because of their hair.
Black women were excited about this movie simply because the book painted the picture of a strong women who finally lets her hair down and is able to be herself without the pressure of society telling her what’s “beautiful” and meets “European Standards.”
This movie was just a major letdown from the characters, chemistry, development and overall message.
Lathan did an amazing job with the portrayal of Violet. From the emotional scene of her shaving her head to her dancing in her living room. She gave Olivia Pope vibes with her walk too.
A character who didn’t work was the first boyfriend Clint. Having a British accent and imitating an American one takes practice and he needs a lot of it. In every scene, you can hear the accent he is trying to mask, and it was really annoying considering they picked his parents to have good American accents.
A major misstep in this movie was definitely the chemistry.
Lathan was not believable with either one of the co-stars she had. A problem was with how she looked kind of disgusted to touch and kiss Will (Lyriq Bent). There was just no romantic chemistry, barely friendship chemistry.
Lathan's sex scene with Ricky was one of the worst scenes. It felt so forced, unreal, no sexual tension or passion. It was really dry. The only bright side to the sex scene was seeing Ricky’s abs.
It was just cringe-worthy to see Lathan romantically involved with either one of them. The movie could have done without them or cut to another scene.
Also, Lathan's scenes with Zoe (Daria Johns) felt forced and unreal. It was more of a little sister, big sister relationship rather than a mother-daughter relationship it should have been.
Another problem with this film was the issue of validation.
The only time Violet felt good about herself is when someone else gave her validation. From the beginning of the film all the way to the end. There were little gleams of hope when she had moments to herself that I had hope for her, but it never happened.
Validation is a very dangerous thing to teach young girls about their natural hair. Women should feel pretty regardless of the beauty standards and how straight our hair is.
Violet, also, was never feeling herself or wanted to be herself unless other people did the same thing. She wasn’t happy with herself all on her own throughout the whole movie.
This film isn’t a complete failure, and is definitely something to watch with your spouse or family.