Miss Juneteenth (2020) Movie Review

Director: Channing Godfrey Peoples

Writer: Channing Godfrey Peoples (Screenplay)

Starring: Nicole Beharie, Kendrick Sampson, Alexis Chikaeze, Lori Hayes, Marcus M Mauldin, Liz Mikel

Plot: A former beauty queen and single mom prepares her rebellious teenage daughter for the “Miss Juneteenth” pageant.

Runtime: 1 Hour 39 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Miss Juneteenth starts as we meet former beauty queen Turquoise Jones (Beharie) whose biggest strike to fame comes from her winning the Miss Juneteenth pageant. Her life hasn’t always gone the way she planned, but now she will work two jobs to make sure her own daughter Kai (Chikaeze) has the same opportunities she had, and doesn’t make the same mistakes she did.

As Kai looks to live her own life, Turquoise must look to reflect on her own life, with the added pressure she is putting on Kai to make her feel as special as she once did, like any parent doing something to make the best life for their child.

Thoughts on Miss Juneteenth

Characters & Performances – Turquoise Jones is a former beauty queen that now works in a bar, hoping to prepare her daughter to follow in her footsteps. She has put most of her life into making the best for her daughter, hoping she doesn’t end up where she is in life, trying to control her, not letting her be her own woman. She needs to learn to let her daughter enjoy her own life and together they can have the best life. Nicole Beharie is wonderful in the leading role, always filled with the strength she needs around her daughter, showing her weakness alone. Kai is her teenager daughter, she wants to enjoy her youth, she likes to dance, she is your typical teenage girl that doesn’t want beauty pageant, just friendships. She will work with her mother for this, knowing it will keep them close, but deep down she has her own dreams. Alexis Chikaeze is great in this role, showing the reluctance to do everything, but her commitment to showing her mum she tries. Ronnie is the troublemaking husband and father, his actions have caused problems in the past and now he is trying to make up for those mistakes.

StoryThe story here follows a former beauty queen that is trying to prepare her own daughter to compete for the same title she once held. We get a story here that will show that parents might push their children into things that were their dreams, even if they are meant as the right thing, they can lead to a bigger strain between the two. It is clear the two are close and they both understand how important this is and how hard the mother is working to make it happen. The core of the story is the mother daughter relationship and how important it is for the two not to build a divide like the mother has with her own.

Final Thoughts Miss Juneteenth is a wonderful drama about the importance of family with two brilliant lead performances.

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