DISCLAIMER: LITTLE SPOILERS AHEAD.
Last month Netflix rolled out it’s new batch of new releases, and Nappily ever After made it’s debut. Based on the 2000 book by Trisha Thomas, this movie told the story of Venus Johnston, a young black female with a thriving career, and handsome boyfriend and a rich social life. Now I haven’t read the book yet, but I felt the need to write this review of the film because like most book to film adaptations, I truly feel that this film didn’t go where I needed it to go. I plan on picking up the book soon, but until then, let me just get this off my chest.
Venus grew up like most black girls did, including myself. Our hair always had to be a certain way, and we were a representation of our parents 24/7. Being “nappy” was never acceptable under any means. If you got your hair wet, life was over! LOL. So of course like most of us, Venus took these perceptions into adulthood, where her appearance, specifically her hair pretty much consumed her life. When her boyfriend of 2 years surprises her with a puppy instead of an engagement, this causes a huge wake up call regarding their relationship that leads to a break up. Now this brings me to my first issue with the story: Her relationships.
I feel like so many important things were glossed over. Her relationship with her boyfriend (both boyfriends actually) her childhood, all things that would’ve given her big breakdown haircut more emotion but just fell flat for me. When her and her boyfriend ended their relationship, I didn’t feel bad at all. There was no chemistry, and for a couple that had been together for 2 whole years, I would expect more than the superficial sex and dinner scenes. 2 months would’ve been more believable than 2 years! That brings me to her post haircut character development. For a chick who spent her whole life obsessing over being perfect, she adjusted to rocking the bald look WAY TOO EASILY! No wig phase? PUH-LEEZE! When I first cut my hair in 2010, I rocked a wig in public the first year, and I was nowhere near as obsessed about my appearance as this woman. I just didn’t buy it at all.
To be honest, halfway through the film, I felt like I was watching a completely different movie. She went from wearing a silk scarf to work out of embarrassment, to giving “you’re beautiful just the way you are” advice to a little girl all in what? A week? Where did this come from? Don’t even get me started on that silk scarf! You mean to tell me that a woman with that much money and that fancy ass job couldn’t run to Lee Lee’s Beauty supply to get a $40 bob wig? Come on now.
I just felt that the film as a whole was rushed, and it was hard to connect with any of the characters. Towards the end, when she got back together with her 2-year boyfriend, there was a scene as they prepared for the engagement party, where he asked if she was planning on doing something with her hair. Basically asking her to straighten it. Everything about this dialogue sounded phony and forced. In the beginning of the film, we were led to believe that this whole need to be perfect was in HER head, and he didn’t really seem to care. Now all of a sudden, he’s a superficial asshole? This is why I told myself that I needed to read this book. His personality and her relationship with him in general was probably explored more thoroughly in the book, so that scene and her whole breakdown probably made more sense in the novel.
Either way, I give this film a C for effort. I did enjoy the end with the pool scene, and I liked the social commentary throughout the film about our hair struggles as black women. I’ll be coming back once I read the book for an accurate comparison!
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