So here are my thoughts on the movie: Happiness is a 4 letter word.
The build up: So we made a night of it – kinda like a late Valentines Day thing; had a nice chilled dinner surrounded by the warm twinkly Johannesburg night before making our way to the movies. It was exactly what I was in the mood for; something date nightly
The movie: didn’t disappoint; it was light and fluffy – exactly what a movie released during the “month of love” is supposed to be. True some of the characters were a little half baked but they I think they made up for it by being dishy – hint: the artist. I loved the panoramic shot thing they have going, they did add local idiosyncrasies like the Russian under a blanket and the dombolo bit, sleeping with a head cloth and the cooler box thing. Plus the sisters with the ‘fros and all that jazz. I however thought it was curious that the women were generally lighter in complexion than the men, but perhaps the creators were going for that whole tall dark and handsome vibe.
In the long run however any movie that tells positive stories of strong independent yet flawed women is for me a success.
The audience: I have been to Cresta Ster Kinekor before – severally in fact and the cinema is, on any given day, about 75-85% white, on several occasions when I have taken my child to watch an animated movie, we have been the only black people in there. So I found it really interesting that my partner was basically the only white person in a well attended opening night; for me this says a lot, if we want more black stories told, we (black people) have to watch the movies being made. And I think the creators of this movie did go out of their way to reach out to a more diverse audience mostly through their use of English only throughout the movie and yet even that never worked.
Conclusion: Of course “Happiness is a 4 letter word” wasn’t perfect, but for black movie makers to be able to tell more nuanced stories with more complex characters and deeper, less safe scripts, they need bucks; bucks afford one the luxury of time and consequently better developed characters. Until then, we must be supportive of whatever they do manage to get out.
In a nutshell: I really enjoyed the movie.