(director/writer: Raine Allen Miller; screenwriters: Nathan Bryan/Tom Melia; cinematographer: Olan Collardy; editor: Victoria Boydell; music: Kwes; cast: Vivian Oparah (Yas), David Jonsson (Dom), Karene Parker (Gia), Benjamin Sarpong-Broni (Eric), Malcolm Atobrah (Jules), Simon Manyyonda (Nathan), Poppy Allen-Quarmby (Cass); Runtime: 82; MPAA Rating: R; producers: Yvonne Isimeme Ibazebo/Damian Jones; Hulu/A Searchlight release; 2023)
“This is a cool rom/com.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
.First-time feature film from the female Brit director Raine Allen Miller, and is scripted by writers Nathan Bryon and Tom Melia. They set their wonderful rom/com in South London’s ethnically diverse Peckham and Brixton neighborhoods (made up of a population originally of African or Caribbean origin). It’s about the travails of star-crossed young adult lovers and opposites attracting, Dom (David Jonsson) and Yas (Vivian Oparah), who meet-cute in the bathroom of an art gallery (where he’s sobbing in a stall next to hers and is told by her that this is not the mens room) and they then spend a day together checking out if they can have a go at a relationship.
Dom is a quiet mama’s boy who lives at home and has been floored to recently discover that his girlfriend of six years, Gia (Karene Peter), has been cheating on him with his handsome best friend, Eric (Benjamin Sarprong-Broni). While Yas is not like him, even though also jilted. She’s outspoken and bold, and lives on her own. Her career ambition is to be a fashion designer in the movies. But she shares with Dom a rough break-up with her pretentious artist boyfriend (Malcolm Atobrah). Yas seems ready to move on while he still seems paralyzed by his awful break-up.
The rapid-fire banter between them is very funny, as he wins her over by being her equal in this art of discourse. The romantic moments are familiar rom/com fodder but freshened-up to seem new. The hip-hop music is vibrant. The location shots are colorful by first-time cinematographer Olan Collardy. This is a cool rom/com that would have been better off if it lost some of its cuteness and tried harder to get away from the predictability of the genre.
It played at the Sundance Film Festival.
REVIEWED ON 2/8/2023 GRADE: B+