June 2002

Reviewed by Wilson Morales


Cable Channel: SHOWTIME
Directors Demane Davis & Khari Streeter
Screenwriters: Demane Davis & Khari Streeter
Producers: John Hart, Jeff Sharp, Robert Kessel, & Mark Hankey
Music: Ryan Shore, Cassandra Wilson
Cast: Kerry Washington, Lonette McKee, Eugene Bird, Todd Williams, Sticky Fingaz

6/26 at 8:30pm (ET/PT), 6/30 at 6:30pm, 7/8 at 8pm, 7/13 at 12am, 7/25 at 11pm, 7/28 at 6:30pm

It’s not that often when one sees an original story come to the big screen. Some say that there are only a few scripts in Hollywood that can be sold, and that the same old scripts get recycled and adapted year after year. When a good story finally comes around from an independent group, it either faces a difficult time getting theater distribution or gets shown on cable television. It’s the studios’ loss and cable television’s gain. Thank God for Showtime. They have managed to capture a film that tackles several family issues. It also showcases the talent of a young up talent who’s currently on the big screen in “Bad Company”. In “Lift”, Kerry Washington is mesmerizing as the female lead that must do everything to please everyone around her without realizing the consequences.

Washington plays Niecy, a young smart, well-dressed woman who works in the clothing section of a department store. She does her job well enough that she may be up for a promotion. Because of her knowledge for clothes, she’s able to “boost” clothes fromother stores and sell them for a price to people from her neighborhood. She goes out of her way to please her mother who doesn’t give her the attention, as she should. When her naïve grandmother tries to get the three together, it never works out. Something from the past is still painful to discuss from mother and grandmother and it effects Niecy in a major way. Besides problems on the home front, Niecy hasunexpected issues with her boyfriend Angelo (Bird), who’s trying to earn a decent living. Being successful as a booster has its price. A local gangster needs Niecy to join his team in getting a big score from an impossible job. As problems add up, Niecy contemplates her decisions as to what’s best for her.

What makes “Lift” an enjoyable film is Kerry Washington. She captures the heart and soul of the character. This woman is complicated from the start. We don’t know whether to morally like her or not. With less than five films made, Washington has already made herself familiar to audiences with the roles she has had (Our Song, Save the Last Dance, Bad Company). There are several issues in this film that many can relate to from a universal standout. The need for love and attention always makes one do something out of the ordinary. Davis and Streeter have done a good job throwing in several plots that seem to have an end rather than having them be convoluted. The heart of the story is the mother-daughter relationship. Besides this story, the subject of “boosting” hasn’t been explored on screen before, at least from a female point of view. The music also stands out because it varies from rap to operas depending on the scene or expression from a character. The other interesting part of the film is the clothing. For a small film, many scenes featured Washington in different designer clothes to go with the character’s taste for wardrobe. Washington was nominated for her first Independent Spirit Award for Best Actress for her work in “Lift”. One can look at this film as a female version of “Robin Hood”. Niecy’s intentions are good, but it comes with a price.


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