I saw a lot of promo for this film on Instagram and Netflix and then somehow I forgot what day it came on…nevertheless, I watched it one day after work at like midnight. Here’s what I thought…
The natural journey is a tough one, as we see in this film. So many things in our lives have pointed to straight, relaxed hair being the bees knees (something else we don’t use enough). This film delves into one woman’s journey into the unknown, natural hair.
Violet Jones (Sanaa Lathan) is living the life. She’s the best at her job as a advertising executive, seemingly with the best firm. (Her niche is beauty. Remember that for later.) She has her man Clint (Ricky Whittle), a cute British number that’s a doctor. Her suspicions are that he may be close to proposing. This is the catalyst to what happens next.
In my opinion, Violet is the cliche black business woman. A woman concerned with her business, her image and her relationship. Her mom, Paulette (the legendary Lynn Whitfield), is part of her problem. The movie starts with a typical black girl problem, the pool. We see a young Violet at the edge of the pool, in a full bathing suit, wanting to get in but knowing the consequences of getting her hair wet, a wet mane of hair and the wrath of her mother.
As with most cliche business women in the world, life does not go as planned. She goes to eat with her friends and worries about what looks like a rain cloud the entire lunch. Turns out, she was right. There was a rain cloud, it rained and ruined her hair…one the day she thinks she’s being proposed to. So she makes an emergency hair appointment at a salon recommended by her best friend. In the salon. she encounters a little girl with wild natural locs and proceeds to condemn the little one for her hair. That’s when her father steps in. Later, that same little girl is the reason why Violet’s hair came out in clumps. She gave the shampoo girl relaxer instead of shampoo. And they put her under a dryer! As a side note, if you’ve ever seen What’s Love Got To Do With It, then this scene should look real familiar. It was almost the same exact scene.
Anyway, now Violet has to wear a weave. Another side note, I like that sections that they broke the movie into. The first section was obviously “straight”. This section is called “weave”. We get all worked up for her to get to this dinner and…she gets a puppy, not a ring. Later, her and Clint have a conversation and we find out that they don’t know each other at all. They breakup, and even though Clint specifically tells her that she’s obsessed with perfection and that’s why he won’t marry her, she thinks it has something to do with her looks.
Further into the movie, she dyes her hair blonde, another thing black women do for men. The new doo gets wet (she does not have luck with rain) and guess what? In a fit of rage, confusion and maybe intoxication, she shaves her head. And as you should know, she goes on a journey to find her true self without her hair.
I have a few comments on this film. Let’ start with what I liked. I enjoyed the relationship she eventually grew with the little girl. In getting to know the little girl., it softened Violet. We got to see who she really was when she wasn’t putting on for the people around her. I also appreciated the relationship and how it changed as the movie progressed. I like how Violet had to reevaluate her role at her job. She was executive they relied on to secure their beauty accounts. After shaving her hair and not being engaged and also being the new owner of a dog she didn’t ask for, she realized the pitches she always pitched where not a reality. They were her own fantasy in her own mind of what she thought perfection was, what she thought she should be. It took a minute but she finally realized that a change in personality needed to be made.
Here’s what I didn’t like.
I don’t like the fact that a big reason Violet had a complex about her hair was because of the complex her mom passed to her. There was a mention of why Violet’s mom wanted her hair straight but it was only mentioned once. I felt like that needed to be more prominent in the film because it didn’t come out of nowhere.
I watch a lot of indie films and I get it, they’re not going for the mainstream, but I can’t stand an ambiguous ending. I need a complete end. I had a couple questions that I wanted answered that were not.
Should you watch this film?
The market for this is obviously black women but it’s the journey of a woman nonetheless. This is definitely a chick flick. Don’t watch this if you even think your girl wants you to propose to her and you haven’t. Just don’t do it to yourself.
Where can I find this movie?
Netflix! Search “Nappily Ever After”. You can also read the series.