Hollywood Insider - News Entertainment & Culture

    Substance & Meaningful Entertainment

    Against Gossip & Scandal

    Independent Media Network

    Global Stories From Local Perspective

    Factual Culture News

    Hollywood Insider The 40-Year-Old Version Review, Radha Blank

    Photo: ‘The Forty-Year-Old Version’/Netfix 

    Royalty. That’s the word that comes to mind by the film’s end credits. As struggling Harlem playwright Radha Blank graces the New York sidewalks in her vibrant tuxedo-gown, she turns the film’s sidewalks into illuminating yellow brick roads. 

    What makes the Netflix movie ‘The Forty-Year-Old Version’ visually special is that it reserves color only for essential moments, otherwise it’s in black and white. Yet unlike some dreary black and white movies, you never miss the distraction color provides. By grounding the film in a gripping realism, the film can do a variety of things, all of them jarringly well.

    Written, starring, and directed by Radha Blank, viewers blindly going into the film will slowly start to realize that it’s semi-biographical. The meat of the film focuses on Radha grappling with whether or not she wants to follow her dream of being a rapper, or if she should stay in the safety of her rekindling playwriting career. Based on the play of the same name, the 2020 winner of the Dramatic Competition Award in Directing never wavers in its dazzling honesty. When Radha loses hold of her artistic integrity and allows her art to succumb to the hands of sinister producer Josh Whitman, (Reed Birney), the film doesn’t hold back in showing the consequences of “selling out”.

    Related article: Idris Elba’s ‘Concrete Cowboy’ is a Revolutionary Film – Coming Soon!

    Related article: A Tribute: The Inspiring Life of Chadwick Boseman, Passing the Torch

    ‘The 40-Year-Old Version’: Black Art is More Than Just Slavery or Poverty

    Radha originally wrote a simple and honest play of gentrification in Harlem. But the gatekeepers to artistic stories want to see Black trauma, they wanna see suffering, poverty porn, Harriet Tubman The Musical! The white characters in this movie are satirical depictions of themselves– although at times they’re so overly and embarrassingly unaware of their ignorance that the line between satire and realism gets blurred. 

    Although they’re laughable characters, they’re funny because they’re true. The film dances the line between what is real and what is fake and eventually comes out reminding us that they behave the same– they have the same end result. 

    In the production of Black art, there will always be outside voices giving their input, voices that have never experienced the subject matter, that doesn’t have the range to give insight. The vicious white gaze is nearly inescapable. When Radha hides from the consequences of compromising who she is, the honest writing and triumphant acting are enough to captivate your attention– the film reminds us what real life looks like. 

    Related article: MUST WATCH – Hollywood Insider’s CEO Pritan Ambroase’s Love Letter to Black Lives Matter – VIDEO

    Subscribe to Hollywood Insider’s YouTube Channel, by clicking here. 

    The confusion white consumers have when Black art isn’t about slavery or racial trauma, comes from a misunderstanding of what Black art actually is. It’s not a prop to fuel white guilt, nor is it escapism from white people’s internalized racism. It is just art. Sometimes the Black experience is essential in making our art and sometimes it is not. The film itself is a testament to that, it’s pure, it understands itself in a way that Black art written or directed by white people often can not grasp; We are not our nightmares.

    Indeed, the picture can be dreamlike at times. when music producer D floats his way on screen, his long dreads and gentle breathes give him the notorious disposition of the quiet Black man I see at times in my mirrors. Played by Oswin Benjamin, his performance is magical. Radha convenes and confides in D and together they rise like smoke and dance with the swelling horns of Quincy Jones’ Love and Peace.

    Related article: The Power of Positivity: Ikorodu Bois + Chris Hemsworth + Russo Brothers + Sam Hargrave

    Limited Time Offer – FREE Subscription to Hollywood Insider – Click here to read more on Hollywood Insider’s vision, values and mission statement here – Media has the responsibility to better our world – Hollywood Insider fully focuses on substance and meaningful entertainment, against gossip and scandal, by combining entertainment, education, and philanthropy. 

    What Happens to a Dream Deferred?

    “Oh shit. Even my dreams need rewrites” – Radha confesses to her vigilant agent and best friend Archie (Peter Kim) after realizing a career in music is implausible for someone almost forty. Radha is a master lyricist. She raps about getting older, about being a Black woman in Harlem, and hilariously about white men with big asses. She reaches her worst moments in the film when she’s disconnected from her internal rhythm, from her authentic sound. 

    Even within her compromises she still must compromise. Even when she’s given up everything her integrity has to offer, she still has to make nice to all these white people who “get it” because they’ve seen Fences and they know The Color Purple. The director on her project gets it because she’s done A Raisin in The Sun. Even when Radha finally gets in the room she’s been fighting to get into, she can’t even get a Black director to work with her. “All the working black directors are working,” they said. The tonal nuance of the film isn’t always funny. It can be infuriating at times. Yes Langston Hues, sometimes those neglected dreams do explode. 

    Radha’s rap spirit is revived at a visit from the real-life female rap battle showdown Queen of the Ring. The scene took the film to new heights as audience members were dropped right in the middle of scorching rap battles. The poetic lyricism and off-the-dome storytelling relit the musical candles Radha had begun to extinguish. D is one of Radha’s main proponents as his encouragement never wavers for the playwright turned aspiring rapper. It’s clear he cares for her. 

    Related article: Hollywood Insider’s CEO Pritan Ambroase: “The Importance of Venice Film Festival as the Protector of Cinema” – Cinema Will Survive and Thrive

    Related article: Live Updates: List of Successes From Black Lives Matter Protests!

    Love and Royalty 

    Black love in the movie is the foundation for a story many will see for one of their first times; a stripped-down understanding of a Black, female experience told by the one who experienced it firsthand. How many semi-biographical films are out there about Black women who aren’t civil rights heroes? How many get to be told by the person who’s living it? Incredibly few. 

    The result is a feat of resplendence. Although in black and white, the film beams with the warming aura of nuanced Black love; Radha is desired and not fetishized in this film, Black girls are free to explore their sexuality without consequence in this film, Black men are loving and beautiful in this film, and Black women are royalty.

    Related article: ‘Green Book’: Can White Filmmakers Make Films on Black Stories Truthfully?

    When Radha came back to the light after losing her way she was still royalty; her late mother’s blood was still in her veins. Walking the Harlem streets in her tuxedo gown, the film radiated with an artist’s love.

    By the end, The Forty-Year-Old Version is about companionship. It’s a message that your dreams do not need rewriting. Your dreams don’t have to be compromised, they were not bestowed to you under the conditions of race, gender, or age–your destiny supersedes these restraints. The film teaches us that dreams are treasures–they need love and trust. 

    You will not watch this film. You will experience this film. Know the difference.

    By Tyler Bey

    Click here to read Hollywood Insider’s CEO Pritan Ambroase’s love letter to Black Lives Matter, in which he tackles more than just police reform, press freedom and more – click here.

     

    An excerpt from the love letter: Hollywood Insider’s CEO/editor-in-chief Pritan Ambroase affirms, “Hollywood Insider fully supports the much-needed Black Lives Matter movement. We are actively, physically and digitally a part of this global movement. We will continue reporting on this major issue of police brutality and legal murders of Black people to hold the system accountable. We will continue reporting on this major issue with kindness and respect to all Black people, as each and every one of them are seen and heard. Just a reminder, that the Black Lives Matter movement is about more than just police brutality and extends into banking, housing, education, medical, infrastructure, etc. We have the space and time for all your stories. We believe in peaceful/non-violent protests and I would like to request the rest of media to focus on 95% of the protests that are peaceful and working effectively with positive changes happening daily. Media has a responsibility to better the world and Hollywood Insider will continue to do so.”

    More Interesting Stories From Hollywood Insider

    – Do you know the hidden messages in ‘Call Me By Your Name’? Find out behind the scenes facts in the full commentary and In-depth analysis of the cinematic masterpiece

    – A Tribute To The Academy Awards: All Best Actor/Actress Speeches From The Beginning Of Oscars 1929-2019 | From Rami Malek, Leonardo DiCaprio To Marlon Brando & Beyond | From Olivia Colman, Meryl Streep To Bette Davis & Beyond

     Why Queen Elizabeth II Is One Of The Greatest Monarchs | Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II of United Queendom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland

    – Compilation: All James Bond 007 Opening Sequences From 1962 Sean Connery to Daniel Craig

    – In the 32nd Year Of His Career, Keanu Reeves’ Face Continues To Reign After Launching Movies Earning Over $4.3 Billion In Total – “John Wick”, “Toy Story 4”, “Matrix”, And Many More

    – Want GUARANTEED SUCCESS? Remove these ten words from your vocabulary| Transform your life INSTANTLY

    the 40-year-old version, the 40-year-old version, the 40-year-old version, the 40-year-old version, the 40-year-old version, the 40-year-old version, the 40-year-old version, the 40-year-old version, the 40-year-old version, the 40-year-old version, the 40-year-old version, the 40-year-old version, the 40-year-old version, the 40-year-old version, the 40-year-old version, the 40-year-old version, the 40-year-old version, the 40-year-old version, the 40-year-old version

    logo

    Limited Time Offer: Join For Free Today & Get Unlimited Access.

    Hollywood Insider focuses on substance & meaningful entertainment.

    Quality of our content over quantity, transformation rather than titillation, and extraordinary instead of normal.

     

    SUBSCRIBE NOW

    • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

    Will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.