Sept 99: Loving Jezebel

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by Kendell
Written by: Kwyn Bader
Directed by: Kwyn Bader
Produced by: David Lancaster
Dir. of Photography: Horatio Marquinez
Editor: Tom McArdle
Cast: Hill Harper, Laurel Holloman, Nicole Ari Parker, Phylicia Rashad, Sandrine Holt, Andre Blake

A story of love depicting the great romances of a young man's life... yet this man is cursed with always falling for someone else's girl. As we watch our hero Theodorus mature, will he ever find true love? Or will he remain the dupe of Jezebels, constantly loving women who are unavailable and unfaithful?

SYNOPSIS

Theodorus Melville (Hill Harper) was a romantic at a young age. His first crush dashed his heart at the age of five by kissing another classmate, thus creating the beginning of his Don Juan ways. The film follows our young hero as he enters high school, college, and adult life and describes his relationships with various women. We reminisce with Theodorus as he remembers dating his best friend's girl in high school and as he dates an erratic and unavailable Drama major in college. The film continues in the present day as he continues to romance the ladies after graduation. His sensitivity is what attracts these women, but true love escapes him. The audience follows him on his journey to understanding. Why does he choose women who are unavailable and what makes him so attractive to them?

 

THESPIANS

Hill Harper is fairly believable in his role as a younger Theo; however, something is lost in his later performance as the adult character. Although some viewers will be able to identify with him, the audience is not able to bond with Theo because he is such a dislikable character. While in his youth he seems more of a victim, after a while with such characters, the audience is thinking, "this guy needs to grow up and stop chasing other people's women." Nor will the audience be able to bond with any of his gorgeous but self-absorbed relationships: Samantha Parks (Laurel Holloman), Frances (Nicole Ari Parker), Mona (Sandrine Holt). Each seems consumed by lies and self esteem issues that most Psychology minors will spot right away. Nicole Ari Parker's performance is standout as a particularly disturbed coed. Look for her in such films as "Boogie Nights" and "Mars Attacks" for earlier proof of her acting skills. Phylicia Rashad is always good to see as Theo's mother, although there is something a little weird about their relationship throughout the film.

CRITIQUE

A multi-cultural urban romance that comments on infidelity and true love could be just the movie audiences are waiting for. Upbeat and a little preachy, Loving Jezebel portrays the adjustments in finding the "one for you" while still trying to find yourself. Although I found Harper's character to be genuine, the women in the film were one-dimensional. Freudian symbolism abounds and the female characters seem to be stylized caricatures of co-dependence. Harper is endearing as teenaged Theodorus and viewers could be drawn to the evolution of his romances. At the very least, this film will help you remember your first loves, hopefully with the wit and sensitivity of Theodorus. Kwyn Bader's directorial film debut, produced in association with STARZ! and BET MOVIES, this film tells this story thoughtfully and will charm cable audiences.

 

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