Actress Sanaa Lathan playing Violet Jones does it again starring as the lead role in new Netflix Original movie. Violet Jones had what seemed to be a perfect life, high paying job, Doctor boyfriend and stereotypical ‘pretty’ appearance but her flawless life took a turn for the worst when she soon realised it wasn’t what she really wanted, her whole life was a facade. Representing the day to day struggles of a ethnic minority woman, Nappily ever after(2018)- based on a novel by Trisha R. Thomas- is a movie which touches on such a topic that is real to so many people whilst at the same time making it a light-hearted romantic comedy.
This movie shows the gradual growth of self love and acceptance in character Violet Jones and the acceptance of her natural hair. Director Haifaa al-Monsour gives a clear representation of each character, the mother that wants you to marry the ‘rich man’, the man who doesn’t accept you fully for who you are, and the man that loves you for being unapologetically yourself.
The movie goes straight into the plot, early on Violet Jones is hanging out with her two bestfriends but can not genuinely enjoy herself due to the sky looking cloudy. She anxiously asks them if they are sure they can’t see a rain cloud, this apprehensiveness comes from the fact that her hair is straightened and she doesn’t want to ruin what she thinks is ‘perfect ‘hair. She jumps through hurdles trying to make sure nothing affected her hair but low and behold her over doing efforts to try and stop this, inevitably caused her hair to be ruined by little kids playing with water. She certainly didn’t want her Doctor boyfriend Clint (Ricky Whittle) to see her in anyway that didn’t project faultlessness, which lead to the downfall of their relationship, which could be said to be because of her mother Paulette ( Lynn Whitfield) whom rooted this perfectionist mentality into her daughter from a young age. This also lead her to have her traumatic experience at the salon, yet life changing as she met people who she had no idea change her mentality but her life.
The movie was separated into chapters which were the phases in hair styles Violet went through, for example ‘ bold’ ‘ blonde’ etc. Which shocked her over-bearing mother where she even fainted (exagg much), her mother couldn’t take the fact that through Violet trying to find her inner self she went for the hairdresser instead of Doctor and wore her hair not in line to what she saw as groomed. Paulette was so ignorant to the fact that you can be beautiful without having straight hair that she even judged a little girl. Before the end of the movie Violet was also like her mother going as far as saying ‘ how can your mother let you out like that’, but confident young girl Zoe (Daria Johns) knew she was beautiful regardless of how she wore her hair which was not only inspiring to us as viewers but to Violet also.
The progression towards the ending seemed quite undeveloped to me, it felt as if there needed an added scene, the cause of this could have been due to the fact that the original story was a book? However I feel that is the directors job to identify this early on and come up with a solution. Nappily Ever After is simple yet the overall message was strong and personally me as a black girl who went natural just over 3 months ago, I could definitely identify with these issues that were addressed in the movie. Would rate this movie a 7/10 and would definitely recommend this to a friend.
Cast: Sanaa Lathan, Lyriq Bent, Daria Johns, Lynn Whitfield, Ricky Whittle, Ernie Hudson
Director: Haifaa Al-Mansour