A down-on-her-luck playwright thinks the only way she can salvage her voice as an artist is to become a rapper at 40.
Over the weekend I watched, The Forty-Year-Old Version on Netflix. Radha Blank wrote, directed, and starred in this movie about a playwright down on her luck. In the movie, Radha the character will be turning 40 in a couple of days. She has not been able to get a play produced since the beginning of her career. Ten years ago, she was honored with 30 under 30, and turning 40 soon is making her think about the next moves. Radha turns to hip hop to find her authentic voice. Throughout the movie we see Radha rediscovering herself sometimes losing her voice during the process.
The film touches on serious topics in a light-hearted witticism. Radha confronts race with her Harlem Ave. play about gentrification but waiting to have it produced. She tackles ageism with the sweet depiction of an older woman and younger man romance and body quips you only understand as you get older. She confronts authenticity with her play because she has to make compromises in order to have her play produced.
During this movie, you can’t get over the cinematography. The movie for most of its entirety is filmed in black & white. As the viewer, you cannot miss the nods to Spike Lee and his film She’s Gotta Have it.
I enjoyed Radha’s relationship with her best friend/agent, Archie. Throughout I kept saying I want a friendship like that, a friend who is down for whatever. Even her relationship with her students is incredible; especially, Elaine roasting Rahda every chance she got. It was funny a couple of students had crushes on her.
Rahda transforms into RadhaMUSPrime and the lyricism that comes through is beyond. Radha destroyed every beat. The fact that she could rap about a White man having a Black woman’s booty is extraordinary (chef’s kiss).
Radha’s debut film was everything. It was fresh, sophisticated, witty, and musically inclined. I enjoyed every minute of watching the film. I hope to see more have Radha.
Will you be watching the film? Don’t you love RadhaMUSPrime as rap name? What’s yours?
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