Una Great Movie Premieres on the 14th February 2020 at Pan African Film & Arts Festival
Writer: Jennifer Sharp (Screenplay)
Starring: JoNell Kennedy, Numa Perrier, Jake Olson, Jose Casasus
Plot: As a screenwriter takes notes from Hollywood executives, her beautiful diverse movie about a black American woman traveling to Mexico, slowly becomes a romantic comedy with an all-white cast. A quirky cerebral look into commercialism and greed, juxtaposed with a heartwarming movie that challenges stereotypes.
Runtime: 1 Hour 36 Minutes
There may be spoilers in the rest of the review
Verdict: Important Look at the Hollywood System
Story: Una Great Movie starts as Zoe (Kennedy) is trying to sell her script in Hollywood, as she is telling the story we get to watch her lead character Susan (Perrier) travel to Mexico to look for a lost love, as the story continues, Zoe is forced and suggested different aspects to the character a story to help make it easier for producers to buy, only she isn’t comfortable about making all the changes.
As Zoe learns more about the Hollywood system she must look at the ideas they are offering her, with the idea of a known star Bryan Alonsio (Olson) taking the lead role, despite the fact he isn’t Mexican, imagining what he would be like in the story next to Susan.
Thoughts on Una Great Movie
Characters – Zoe is the screenwriter that believes she has her own brilliant screenplay, she has written a script that she understands the characters and is trying to pitch it to producers, each one seems to want to change things in her script, from changing the Mexican characters, the black lead and the motivation for the trip in her work. Zoe has support from friends, a support group, but her determination means she will start to change certain parts of her script hoping it will help get it made. Susan is the main character in the script, a woman heading to Mexico to look for a lost love, as Zoe is forced to change her script, we see the changes in Susan’s story, which helps show the differences in what Zoe wants and the generic figure the studios are looking for. Luis is the character that Susan is trying to get locate, the lost love, who has started his own life, only for his life to still be waiting for her. Bryan Alonsio is the actor everybody wants in their film, he is even suggested by one of the producers that wants him to play one of the Mexican characters in the film.
Performances – JoNell Kennedy as the screenwriter shows us the struggles she is going through to get her script made, dealing with the questions about the work, while seeing the support from others. Numa Perrier is great as the character in the script, showing how the character should come to life and will be evolving in the process. The cast does include a mix of professional actors with non-actors to highlight the true identity of the Mexican community.
Story – The story here follows a screenwriter who is trying to get her script turned into a film, only for her to find herself facing ideas that would change the film to become the generic Hollywood film, instead of using the realism that she dreams off, while also showing how the script would be evolving through the story. The story here is trying to highlight the big problem within the Hollywood system when it comes to diversity within the casting and the stereotypes producers want to follow, while spinning the reality of everything to show how everybody isn’t what Hollywood believes them to be. If we look just at the story, the idea that the story is evolving as the script ideas were being made, it does make it entertaining, because you don’t know what is coming next with the changes. This is an important story that shows the world to be clearer than a lot of people imagine it.
Comedy – The film does use moments of comedy to make fun of the changes that are being suggested, it does help get a laugh at certain moments during the film.
Settings – The film uses two settings, we get to see Zoe in Hollywood, going through the different offices trying to sell the script, while also showing Susan the character in the film, enjoying her search in Mexico.
Scene of the Movie – Zoe gets help from an unlikely source.
Final Thoughts – This is a clever way to highlight the problems within the Hollywood system, showing stereotypes are still controlling how movies are made and taking the dreams of people who could bring us original.
Overall: Clever Statement.