On The Come Up

Where I Watched it: Paramout Plus

Audio Description provided By: international Digital Center

Written By: Liz gutman

Narrated By: Tate Keller (?)

Until I posted about this film on my social media, I didn’t know it was a book. I was pretty impressed with the story as is, and somehow became less impressed when I realized it was an adaptation and not an original work. That didn’t stop me from loving this film, and going out on a limb for it here.

on The Come up features a complex story about a young girl who dreams of following in her father’s footsteps as a rap artist. unfortunately, his life was cut short, and she’s trying to keep her head up and make sure the same path doesn’t await her. Her first rap battle doesn’t go well, and then she gets body slammed by the cops at her school for contraband (literally, skittles, a nice nod to Trayvon), which lights a fire both in her mom that this could happen to her daughter, but also within her and her lyrics.

Soon, she starts winning rap battles, and gets the notice of a successful producer who puts her on the path to fame. But to do so, she’d have to jettison her aunt who has been managing her. What will she do?

Sanaa Lathan, who has enjoyed a long career, makes her feature directorial debut here, and also co-stars as the mom. She has a very Captain My Captain moment at the end where she delivers what best could be described as a “For your Consideration” speech. Of course, Oscar voters aren’t even looking in this films direction, so it’s all for naught. But she gets terrific performances from everyone. The biggest example is her use of mike Epps, who is not a good actor… ever… but is perfectly cast as a DJ/Rap Battle Host. instead of needing to act, the role just embodies everything that Mike Epps is, using him in a way that makes him look good, and adds another star in the ensemble. She also gets perfect casting with method Man, another person not known for his acting chops, as the producer. He knows this role inside and out, and it just flows out of him.

The big surprises here are Divine joy Randolph, as the aunt, who I literally forget is this good in drama. She’s typically hilarious, and I miss her on high Fidelity (yes, I’m still upset about that cancellation). She turns in a great supporting performance here. But the revelation is in finding Jamila Grey to play Bri, taking an almost undiscovered talent and allowing this film to showcase their musical talents and dramatic range. The film wouldn’t work without an excellent performance from Gray, and she nails all the moments.

The audio description written by Liz Gutman does a great job of flowing with the film. It’s interesting description to write, because you are so limited on time, as Bri frequently uses the quiet moments to either have internal monologues or lay out some lyrics. Gutman had to choose and phrase everything precisely because of the lack of empty dead air, and you need to feel certain moments to understand the impact. Bri’s assault by the police has to hit in a specific way so it can fuel the film. It’s really great narration.

I had no idea this film was coming, I knew nothing about it, and I’m going all in on this. I loved it, and it’s one of my picks for best of the year. If you’re the type who uses woke a lot, this film may not be for you.

Final Grade: A

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