On a one-day business trip to New York, a German business executive (Ken Duken) falls in love with a singer-songwriter (Nicole Beharie) who exposes him to her Brooklyn world and emotions he has never experienced before.
Starring: Nicole Beharie, Ken Duken, Reg E. Cathey, Marlene Forte
Reading and I aren’t getting along right now so I’ve been catching up on movies and TV shows. The other gals were nice enough to let me right a movie review. Thanks, gals!
It’s only been 96 days since the season finale of Sleepy Hollow. Time is flying by. It’ll be September before I know it, but not soon enough, damnnit! I have a Nicole Beharie problem, and by problem I mean I’m pretty much in love with her. I have a short list of actresses (Claire Danes, Sandra Bullock, and Kerry Washington) that make me feel so much, give me the feels if you will, that sometimes I’m hesitant to check out their work because I know I’ll end up crying if their characters starts crying. After episode one of Sleepy Hollow I knew I had to add Nicole Behaire to that list. She can not only act, but she can EMOTE! Not of a lot of actors these days know how to do that. Again, I’m rambling. I love Nicole, okay? Okay. While I’ve been waiting for Sleepy Hollow to come back I’ve been checking out Nicole and Tom Mison’s body of work. Salmon Fishing in the Yemen blows and Tom is only in it for a few minutes. Skip that one if you need a Mison fix.
42 really is a love story, but there’s too much baseball and patting white people on the back for me to write about it for the Margins. The Last Fall, a romance, was too boring to finish even though Nicole stars opposite the super fine Lance Gross, BUT when I heard the title track from My Last Day Without You, a track Nicole sings, I knew I had to check out this movie. It took a while, but someone figured out people were fiending for Nicole and UP TV finally aired the film last week. Hooray for DVRs!
We start off in Pretty Woman territory. Leticia/Tisha is starting off her day, rehearsing her music before she goes to work. Her father stops by and we find out that Tisha has just moved into her first place and her father, a widower, is having a hard time with the not smothering.
Meanwhile, Niklas (Ken Duken) has flown from Germany to New York to gut a portion of his boss’s company. On they’re way into THE SAME OFFICE, they run into each other and Tisha, being the resourceful business woman she is slips Niklas a copy of her CD and a flyer for a show she’s playing that night. She has to work a day job, but everyday she slips a stranger some of her music to expand her listening base.
When she gets to work, she finds out she’s been laid off and is understandably upset. Feeling understandably like an ass after laying off a shiton of people, Niklas leaves the building and runs into Tisha on the street again. He finds her attractive and comes on STRONG, asking her first if she wants to get a hotel room so they can bone, then if she wants to spend the day with him anyway, after she refuses. This is street harassment at it’s finest. Tisha’s face says please get the hell away from me, but in the end she just walks away because she knows arguing only means she has to spend more time talking to this dude.
While Tisha’s making her way across town, Niklas goes into full stalker and decides to follow up with the coffee shop where Tisha will be performing to see if he can get the skinny on her. Luckily her friend doesn’t give up the info and instead suggests that Niklas head over to Tisha’s father’s church which isnt far from the coffee shop. If you can pass the papa test and all.
Cut to Dwayne, this wanna be cool guy who drives his mama’s Porche SUV who clearly doesn’t work himself and is also having a hard time taking no for an answer. He asks Tisha out for what seems to be the 40000th time and doesn’t ease up until she threatens to through a brick through his Porche window. It’s hard out her in the streets for a lady just trying to walk home.
We catch up with Tisha at her father’s church. He’s having a morning prayer session with a small group of parishioners. This was one of my favorite scenes in the movie. Luz, an older, Latin woman, shares with the group that she has done a lot of work on her spiritual self since her husband left her. She’s now ready to love again. She perfectly vulnerable and honest and open, and I got a little weepy. It was so refreshing to see a human moment with an older woman of color that focuses on her love life. This doesn’t happen very often in rom coms.
After Luz’s testimonial, Tisha gets up and shares that she was let go from her job meaning she can no longer afford to live on her own and she has no extra income to put toward her music. She demands answers from this God that her father has been telling her to rely on. Her father asks her to stop and Tisha storms out of the church. Niklas has been watching this all go down from the back of the church. He chases Tisha outside and asks a little more politely if they can hang out. Seeing Dwanye’s SUV in the distance, Tisha caves and hops in Niklas’s limo.
I don’t want to spoil anymore, but from here the movie unfolds into an extremely charming, romantic film. Niklas and Tisha share a lot of themselves with each other in a short amount of time, bonding further over the loss of their mothers. Niklas learns that money can only go so far when it comes to matters of the heart, and Tisha seemingly appears to continue to chase her musical dreams. There’s an adorable subplot with Luz and, spoiler, Tisha’s dad.
The dark moment comes in two parts. First when Tisha finds out that Niklas is the one who shitcanned her and again when Tisha refuses Niklas’s offer to just be WIIIIILD by running away to Germany with him where she can live off his money and work on selling her music to European market. It’s also rare to see a film where a black woman gets a true “swept away by prince charming” moment so this was another refreshing bit. The film ends on an optimistic note, with Beharie performing the title track in the coffee shop.
Overall the movie is a little slow, but I’m willing to blame this on budget and location restrictions. I praise the writers for giving Tisha an authentic black woman’s journey. The fact that she falls for rich German doesn’t erase her blackness and she still has to navigate the world wearing her color. There are also cute moments where she has to explain what certain things mean, like what it is to “get with” someone. They talk about race, money, family, religion, but it’s even in the tensest moments, Tisha busts out little quips to keep things light. Niklas knows he’s out of his element, but he doesn’t play up the ignorant white dude factor. He lets Tisha lead and for the most part knows when to STFU.
Beharie and Duken have great chemistry. I was hoping for some full front bone-adge, but was pleasantly surprised with how steamy their kissing scenes were. After I finished the movie, I took to tumblr to find some tagged info on the movie and learned that the screenwriters actually based this story on how one of them met his wife on the subway. In November of 2013, she passed away. I think this movie works as a gorgeous love letter.
If you’re in the mood for a slow night or lazy afternoon with a cute film, definitely check this one out. It’s on the Netflix. Oh and Nicole sings half the songs on the soundtrack and at least three different times in the movie. Her voice is amazing. Did I mention that I love Nicole?