The Tweets Are Alive (Film Thoughts: Zola)

A good story is a good story, and most of the time it’s the best foundation for a good movie. The story of Janicza Bravo’s ‘Zola’ comes from a tweet, and that is also its biggest gimmick, and I have to admit I was intrigued as I am not really a big Twitterer and have no idea what it is (was) A series of tweets was posted in October 27, 2015 by A’Ziah King and she sold the rights to her tweets. (She later said she embellished parts of the story) I do think the story is pretty basic and unimpressive, but teh film is more interesting, and entertaining.

It’s because of the screenplay, written by Bravo with Jeremy O Harris (who wrote Broadway’s ‘Slave Play’) The tale comes to life vividly, and the words and dialogues have a distinct style. The story moves at a brisk place but never feels rushed, and even though there is a familiarity to the plot, you can never tell what is going to happen next. Add to the mix fantastic performances, especially by Riley Keough and Taylor Paige and what we have is a great summer road trip movie that’s edgy and sexy (if a bit too male gaze centric for my taste)

So far, this is my favorite summer movie for 2021.

The Words Not Spoken (Movie Thoughts: Lovesong)

large_lovesongI think I am now definitely a fan of actress Riley Keough. I know she is great in STARZ’s ‘The Girlfriend Experience,’ and she is wonderful in So Yong Kim’s ‘Lovesong.’ She has one of the most expressive faces, and she uses them intelligently – a look, a glance conveys a myriad of emotions with her. In this film, she plays Sarah, who has been friends with Mindy (Jenna Malone) since they were kids. But is there something more to their friendship? In the film, as is most of the time in real life, feelings are complex, and is even complicated by attachments, and life choices. Sarah and Mindy connect at one point, and they kiss, but both are afraid to face their feelings. Cut to three years later as Sarah goes to Tennessee for Mindy’s wedding, as she senses ambivalence in Mindy’s commitment. Is this the perfect opportunity for them to finally acknowledge what they feel, if indeed they feel something for each other.

Obviously, the gay undertones in this film is there, but it is never said out loud. Perhaps that speaks of gender fluidity with this new generation, after all love is love, right? No need for labels. This is one of those stylish films where there seems to be not much action, but more about character pieces. You feel like you really got to know Sarah (and Mindy) even though you don’t really see their life journeys. I liked it for its contemplative tone, as it makes you think about choices you made, roads you didn’t follow. And if only to see Keough in action, it’s worth a view.