So this weekend, I watched Guava Island with my coworker (and in the process found out that I had Amazon Prime video). I need to start by saying I don’t care for Rihanna. It’s been a thing. All my friends know this about me just like they know I love Prince. Don’t ask me why, I just don’t. Any who, we started watching and it starts with narration from Rihanna’s character Kofi. She tells the origin story of Guava Island which starts with man finding a rare silkworm that produces beautiful blue silk. As man normally does, the Red family takes over and, in a sense, makes the entire island slaves to the Red family. There are two main jobs on the island, being a seamstress or working at the cargo station. Dani (Donald Glover’s character), who works at the cargo station and has his own radio station, is a hopeless dreamer-romantic who wishes, not to leave the island, but to make the island the paradise that it was meant to be through music. His girlfriend, Kofi, is more practical. Although we don’t see her much or get a real sense of her personality, we can gather that she’s the center for Dani. I got the impression that Dani never strays too far from reality because he has Kofi.
So remember how Michael Jackson set the precedent and the bar for making a music video movie? So, in watching this film, I gathered that this was more about the music being incorporated into a film rather than the other way around. My coworker and I loved the scenes where Dani started to sing and dance to the beat of steel drums that just happened to be nearby complete with drummers or the background beat of machinery as it mimicked the beat of the famed “This is America”. I personally loved the underlying message of freedom in this 55 minute film. Everyone lives on this breathtaking island but because of the regime that’s in place, no one can enjoy it. The whole island is on a seven-day work schedule. Dani makes mention of this paradox in the film. When you get to the end, you get to see the real beauty of the island and its people.
Now, here’s what grinned my gears. I fancy myself a worldly person but I don’t know an island where only half the people speak Spanish and the other half have a clear Caribbean accent. It bothered me the ENTIRE MOVIE. It’s a small thing but I found myself going, “Where is this island?” more than once. Also, everyone’s fave, Letitia Wright, is in the film but serves no real purpose except for Kofi to have someone to tell her secret that she needs to tell Dani.
The end made us really sad but I loved the last line from Kofi and the outfit she had on. Overall, the film is entertaining. It catches the spirit of the people of the island and the dream of a man who basically wants to change the world. Great message, great music, all on Amazon Prime, y’all! However, if you’re looking for a feature length film that is riveting and has a bunch of twists and turns, this isn’t really it. Otherwise, check it out!