Extra! Extra! Mom Inspired REAL Reactions by Rayshaun Powered by REALEMN Productions
This past Mother’s Day Weekend, the REALEMN team had the timely opportunity to catch a viewing of a film currently getting all the praise and accolades! A Thousand and One, written and directed by New York native A.V. Rockwell is a film for and about Harlem!
It follows the path of Inez, a young Black girl from Harlem with aspirations of becoming a full-time hairdresser yet the cards she’s been dealt in life prevent her from living out her true passions. Played by the multi-talented Teyana Taylor, Inez is a complicated character full of good and bad, very much like the actual experience of being human. Especially in Inez’s case where systemic inequities keep her from achieving her goals.
We meet Inez right after a bid in the infamous Rikers Island detention facility. As she attempts to get back on her feet, a reunion of sorts arises when she runs into her six-year-old son, Terry, on the street. For the next two hours, we get to see these two heartfelt characters journey through life and battle with their own traumas, their relationship, and the city and society they live in.
Produced by Lena Waithe, this beautiful and raw film won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance Film Festival and has already received Oscar buzz for next year’s Academy Awards! The performances from the entire cast were stellar. Josiah Cross, Aven Courtney, and Aaron Kingsley who play Terry (Inez’s son) at various ages in his life, have stand-out performances individually but together, bring the character Terry to life. Another shout-out goes to Will Catlett who plays Lucky, Inez’s longtime boyfriend. Like Teyana with Inez, Will displays how Lucky (despite his name) isn’t perfect but is full of heart and tenderness, even though he may not always show it through his actions.
The cinematography by Eric Yue made New York City a bonus character! Showing all the city’s good and bad and nostalgically capturing the city in the 1990s and early 2000s takes you right back to that pivotal time. Music composition by the one and only Gary Gunn intensifies each scene, further setting the mood and tone throughout.
The film speaks on so many themes including parenthood, systemic oppression, gentrification, love, and of course, Harlem! It is heart-wrenching and for many relatable. I would highly recommend going to see this one, y’all, but please have your tissues and your popcorn ready! It is for all the mothers out there, all those who mother, and for anyone who has loved or needed to be loved unconditionally. Go check it out, tell the Oscars to give Teyana her things, and hug ya mamas, y’all!! :D