Between The Movie Review, Highlights, and Audience Reactions
Friday the 12th of April saw the London Premiere of #BetweenTheMovie at the Odeon Greenwich. The red carpet affair organised by DJ A Media, was a sold out event with a plethora of media personalities, and industry heads all in attendance. The film which was written, produced, and directed by Daniel Ademinokan, who was also the cinematographer stars Nollywood screen icon Stella Damasus, alongside Travis Grenier, Lynn Jenson and Erin E. Feest.
The film is set in Atlanta, Georgia where Damasus plays the character of Chelsea Hollis, a very successful 36-year-old woman that has been married and divorced four times! She lives a double life as a white-collar worker by day and a party girl at night. She helps people fix their relationships but she has totally given up on love. A strong feminist who believes women should take control over their destinies and be 100% in control of their emotions and the choice of whom to sleep with and when to do it.
She meets Scott Hamilton and a one-night stand blossoms into a romantic relationship until she finds out that the man who is about to change her perspective on love, may just be much more than what she expected.
The all glammed up audience at the Greenwich Odeon VIP premiere screening of ‘Between’ certainly got a lot more that they bargained for if their reactions during the movie where anything to go by. The film takes us into the life of an independent successful woman, Chelsea Hollis (Stella Damasus), who is part of the upper middle class society of Atlanta Georgia. A therapist by profession who evidently needs “fixing” of her own life when it comes to the love department. She masks her hole in her heart by focussing on work, nights out and a string of one night stands. She appears to be good with her plan of action, until the plan no longer works after her encounter with the handsome Scott Hamilton (Travis Grenier).
At this point in the film, audiences are taken on a journey of self discovery as we follow Chelsea’s journey in pursuit of happiness and figuring out what it means to be loved and to feel loved. As we delve in and out of scenes; it has to be said that one of the most prolific parts of the film, and certainly what makes it visually captivating is the cinematography work. The director (Daniel Ademinokan) was able to capture the beauty of the surroundings all whilst allowing the audience to embrace the chaos with the beauty, almost as a reminder of when trouble strikes, beauty is always around us, and hope is not far away. Chelsea’s emotional journey as she battles with the repercussions of her decisions based on her need to prove her stance as an independent woman with equal rights as men, had cinema audiences jeering and applauding in what was clearly a men verses women “who is right who is wrong contest”. Just when you thought you could predict what was to come next, the story took an unexpected turn, and with the heavy subject of double standards hanging over our heads as the film continued, it was clear that men and women alike were looking to be vindicated by what was to be the outcome. In the end the moral of the story was that, it was not about who was right and who was wrong. The film in fact opens our eyes to societies’ and our own thinking, and the constant assumptions we make, be it refusing to foresee the possible consequences of our actions, forgiving one another in the most difficult of situations, learning to heal, and most importantly accepting that as people, we are prone to make mistakes, and what matters most is how we handle them after the fact; the mistakes we make and what is done to us by others, should not define who we are, nor should it strip away who we already are.
Although successful, and a clear role model on the outside; because of her past, Chelsea made a lot of mistakes in her personal life, which she allowed to affect her behaviour as a result. Actress Stella Damasus gave an amazing performance portraying this confident yet somewhat broken character who had a great support system around her that she refused to acknowledge. Stella certainly took us into the mind of Chelsea, through her ups and downs, and allowed for audiences to empathise with her character, which made us question what we would do if we were in Chelsea’s shoes.
All in all the entire cast gave great performances, and the inclusion of humor, suspense and drama was the right balance, that gave a sense of realism, and not your typical rom-com type drama.
I was pleasantly surprised by the inclusion of the journey of faith, it was not contrived nor was it in your face. It gave the right amount of dosage in portraying what it means to be a Christian; and that was a major plus.
The love interest being a white male was a great angle, as it takes away the stereotypical view of how black women are treated by black men, as they are always portrayed as the ones that mistreat black women. Having a white male play the role of the love interest highlights on the basis of, humans doing what humans do, which is we are all prone to er, colour has nothing to do with it.
A strong black woman does not equate to insensitivity, attitude or the absence of feelings. I love the fact Chelsea Hollis is your average black woman. She is not ratchet, she is not feisty, and when bad things happen to her, they do not just bounce off of her, she has feelings and shows emotion. She is basically the black woman society needs to see; a human being simply trying to live life the best way she can.
It is a conversation starter; the film touches on a number of subjects that society simply refuses to address, and the fact that ‘Between’ helps to spark conversation is brilliant. From the portrayal of Africa in the media, to the expectations of men verses women when faced with adversity and their general characteristics, to the pressures of finding love, marriage and what it takes to maintain one, and religion and the true meaning of faith in Christ.