Anticipation does not begin to explain it.
While watching the previews during Pride and Prejudice, I saw a clip for a new movie, Something New with Sanaa Lathan. I got excited to see Black people on the screen (my friend and I were the only two in the theatre who responded to the clip). Anyway, fast forward 2 months and its opening weekend. I planned to go see the movie on Saturday. Friday night I received 2 separate calls from friends telling me I HAD to go see the movie. Now this would not have been a miraculous event had it been ANY other two friends, but these two agree on very little. So I was immediately psyched to see the movie.
I liked the movie. Aesthetically it was gorgeous. I think director Sanaa Hamri’s background in music video added an extra something to the visuals. And the table scene in the beginning, with the camera circling the table was AWESOME!
The premise of the story is good. Girl unexpectedly falls in love with boy. The problem…she is black, professional and reserved; he is white, a gardener/landscape artist and free spirit. She doesn’t do dogs…he owns one. Classic opposites attract story.
The main characters were believable and credible. Sanaa Lathan and Simon Baker have chemistry…you believe they are feeling each other. Sadly, the majority of America was not feeling them together. This film only grossed a little over 5 million opening weekend and less the 12 million domestically. Even an appearance on Oprah didn’t boost the ticket sales. It led me to question why?
Many are led to believe that this is essentially a movie about race, and it is, but it is so much more. Class is also a major issue. Something New effectively addresses the issues and adversities that a mixed race couple might face. I loved the “Black Tax” references, although honestly, I have never heard the term before (but I do know the concept). One of my favorite scenes occurs in the grocery store where Kenya wants to talk about her hard day and Brian isn’t in the mood for another race chat. The question of right and wrong is never debated, that’s your opinion, but the honest dialogue is refreshing.
I believe that despite the presumed leaps and bounds we have made in regards to race, America is still not ready for the mainstream acceptance of mixed race couples. In the movie, when Blair Underwood’s Mark enters the picture, he and Kenya look like the perfect couple. He understands her world, moreso than Brian. He if a much better fit, not because he is black, but because he is wealthy, educated and fits into the high society that she is accustomed to. But he does not have her heart…and that’s the only thing that counts.
The only major gripe I have about the movie is the screen time dedicated to Lathan’s Kenya and her girlfriends. Although the table scene was great, I would have liked more interaction with them. However, they did deliver some of the more comedic moments in the film.
Overall, I would have to say that I liked the movie. The flaws were minor and were overshadowed by what worked. As a film written and directed by African-American women, I am proud of Something New. I am inspired by it and I hope that it will make Hollywood take note of the talents of more African American women. Something New is now available on DVD.