If you haven't heard by now, Nappily Ever After starring Sanaa Lathan premiered on September 21, 2018.
I was excited to see the movie because I recently went through a natural hair transformation. However, I was left with more questions than answers after watching this movie.
This review is not meant to criticize or speak negatively about this movie. I will do my best to articulate my views in this article and share inspiration from this movie.
Overview of Nappily Ever After
Pretty and perfect. Violet Jones knew she had it all--the right career in advertising, the right boyfriend, and the perfect life. Her perfect life seemed to be centered around her hair. If her hair was perfect, then her life was perfect.
There were scenes in the beginning of the movie that flashed back to her childhood. One scene showed Violet jumping into a pool and her hair reverting to it's natural, curly state as pressed hair always does. My heart hurt as a little boy said that she looked like a Chia Pet while laughter from other children followed. Why? Children in school used to laugh at me and call me "nappy headed" when my hair WASN'T pressed. I definitely, related to that scene.
Violet's mom, Paulette Jones played by Lynn Whitfield, insisted that she had to be 'fixed' in order to appeal to her mom's liking. That meant she had to have the right hair, the right clothes, and every little aspect of her life had to be approved by her mom.
This perfectionism placed on Violet by her mom, carried in to her adult life. You could clearly see it. Her long, flowing hair gave her confidence. She flicked and flipped her hair while walking pass men heading into her office. They stared, said hello, and gave her a second glance as she walked away. Her mom definitely approved of her career and soon to be doctor boyfriend, Clint.
A little further on in the movie, Violet met with her friends and she ends up getting her hair wet while talking to a child. She screamed in horror because she had an important birthday celebration to attend. Clint was supposed to propose to her, she thought.
Violet asked for hairstylist recommendations from her friends so she can get her hair done. Her mom was not available as she was the person who always styled her hair. An opening became available at a salon recommended from a friend. While there, Violet paid another patron $200 to leave her appointment just so she can make it to her birthday celebration on time.
The hair appointment took a turn for the worse when it began to come out in huge clumps after what was supposed to be a conditioner treatment. The treatment was actually a relaxer.
Of course, Violet became upset and demanded a weave or a wig just to look the same way she did prior to her hair coming out.
So, it's evening and Violet is enjoying her birthday party. Clint hands her a tiny box. She opens it to find a dog tag. She was disappointed. Then a bigger box is brought out. She opened it and a black and white Chihuahua was waiting inside. Violet went from disappointed to devastated to pulling herself together. She couldn't let everyone see her true feelings.
Violet would not be planning a wedding to her disappointment. Curious and confused, Violet needed answers as to why Clint didn't want to marry her. His answer: she was too perfect. He said that it was like being on a first date for two years. Violet then dumps her boyfriend because she didn't get what she wanted.
Violet's life began to change as she started moving on. This includes shaving off all of her hair during an emotional drunken state. But things were not the same. Men ignored her when she walked by. Her perfect life fell apart when her hair fell out. Perfectionism was out of the window. And, her friends urged her to own her new look.
Becoming Perfectly Imperfect
I saw a freedom emerge as she went on a date with a man who had a child named Will. This man was one of the hairstylist and natural hair product creator at the hair salon she went to earlier in the movie. In fact, she began dating him and mentoring his young 10-year-old daughter. Eventually, Violet knew she had to let the family meet her new boyfriend. They head to a 4th of July barbecue at her mom's house. She was visibly nervous about her boyfriend meeting her mom. Her mom had certain expectations for Violet and her relationships.
Violet could deal with the fact that her hair was shorter and curly, but she could not handle criticism regarding her new boyfriend. That old perfectionism out so she lied about his work while standing next to him. Will excused himself and Violet went after him. He called her bluff. She was too ashamed to be proud of her new boyfriend's work. They break up. Violet then ends up getting back with her ex and getting engaged. In the end she ends up a successful single woman.
What I Liked About Nappily Ever After
There were a few messages that stood out to me in this movie.
The message of confidence could not have been any clearer. After Violet's friends urged her to own her bald head she began to not be so guarded.
Another message I liked was the promotion of natural products and hair care. I felt proud to see this in a movie.
I liked that she dumped her boyfriend Clint. She knew what she wanted from the relationship. They were in an exclusive relationship where marriage was either inferred or outright mentioned, although we don't actually see that in the movie. It wouldn't be that hard to imagine. They lived together, so in her mind she knew marriage and building a family of their own was the next step. Violet was brave to leave him, in my opinion. Many women would decide to stay in order just to have a relationship thinking that maybe he would come around.
I also liked that Violet was brave enough to quit her job after her pitch was rejected. She had an important job assignment to complete in between her relationship ending, shaving her hair off, finding a new boyfriend, and breaking up with him. Her pitch included her new ideology of being perfectly imperfect within a beer commercial. She wanted to use a variety of women that were not the standard of beauty. They were also the hero of the commercial. Through it all, Violet had the foresight to start her own company with her new standards. It is possible that Will was her first client, as shown in the movie but it was unclear.
What I Didn't Like About Nappily Ever After
The ending felt incomplete, which was a downer. It ended with Violet walking down the street. I was campaigning in my mind for Violet and Will to become a couple. I got the sense that the writers and directors of Nappily Ever After wanted to show that Violet was a strong woman and didn't need a man. I would have like to see her be strong within a relationship, happy, and running a successful business because those were her goals.
I actually believe this movie could be an awesome mini series instead of a movie.
I wanted to learn more about the characters.
I really didn't like the how the Clint was portrayed as ultra conservative at the end because I became confused. I thought he wanted her to be more fun because according him, she was not marriage material due to her perfectionism.
I have never known a man who wouldn't find a woman sexy, fun, and interesting if she jumped in the pool with all of her close on. He was embarrassed by her behavior which seemed odd to me.
At the beginning of the post I stated that I have questions regarding the movie. The questions I have about this movie is:
When did she start her new ad agency?
Would she had ever married Will?
Did she eventually marry Clint? Could she have married him?
Was her parents divorced? It was unclear in the movie.
Overall the movie is enjoyable, has great messages, but is still lacking in a real sense of black womanhood.
Inspiration for Lattes and Mamma T's Boutique
The natural look is in for women of color. It has come in cycles and waves, however it appears that the natural look is here to stay. We want to feel beautiful and own our natural beauty. This is one of the reasons I created the natural beauty tee and recently the girl own it tee.
Nappily Ever After is a positive movie for women with a great message, which goes along with what believe at Lattes and Mamma T's Boutique. We strive to lift up women with inspirational apparel.
So, the comment section is open to share your opinions on the movie. We welcome positive discussions. Comment below.