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Sundance’s Premature (2019): A Review

Sundance’s Premature (2019): A Review

The “Sundance Film Festival” brings forth some of the world’s best independent movies.


One is “Premature.” Directed by Rashaad Ernesto Green, and starring Zora Howard and Joshua Boone, this movie is an unorthodox drama.


It explores a theme rarely discussed in mainstream movies, this being romance in African-American culture. Yet, this romance isn’t banal, and it doesn’t seek to explore teenage love on a superficial level.

It aims to provide a peek into the psyches of two artistic African-Americans, each with their own paths, emotional struggles, and maturity problems.



Plot Summary.

The movie begins with the central character of Ayanna (played by Zora Howard). It begins by showing her as an average African-American teenage girl, and a resident of Harlem, New York.

She has just finished high school, and is soon to leave college. Aiming for a liberal arts education, Ayanna is quite poetic. This is seen in her habitual scribbling of poetry into a notebook, with a “spoken word” style of strong flow.


Having only a single summer before leaving college, Ayanna finds herself meeting Isaiah (Joshua Boone). He’s a slightly older and similarly artistic African-American, but with an interest in music and discussing poetry and social problems.

The movie analyzes the relationship and tensions between Ayanna and Isaiah, their struggles, and how both influence each other’s attitudes.


There are many character perspectives that this movie provides, and the contrasting personalities of Isaiah and Ayanna seem to present that well.



Character Analysis & Differences.

Ayanna is shown since the start of the movie as a self-restrained abstractor.


While she is friendly around friends and familiar people, she seems more reserved. This is specifically seen in her encounter with Isaiah, and her attempt to understand his character over time.


Ayanna presents herself as someone of deep thought, and someone wiser about life than her age would dictate. This seems to mesh with her aspirations as a poet, and the title of the movie quite well.



Poeticism and Pre-Maturity.

Poetry is an art that paints psychological and social struggles in word or prose.


Throughout history, a pre-requisite for powerful poetry has been life experience. This is something that Ayanna seems to lack, considering her age, and considering that Isaiah is her first love.


Thus, this movie in-effect seems to describe a rite of passage of Ayanna. Her final summer in Harlem seems to supply her with a needed life experience that would fuel her poetry.


Isaiah plays this role quite well. His personality which contrasts Ayanna challenges her, yet helps her become more mature.



Isaiah’s Personality.

The movie portrays him as more chivalrous, outspoken, and with a keen ability to charm.


This isn’t done in a theatrical manner. He does so with charisma and a personality that’s more visibly open to experience, yet less internally judgmental (unlike Ayanna).


His personality effectively charms Ayanna. It forces her to slowly drop her guarded personality, pulling her into a love journey that creates insight into both of their personalities.


Special Themes of the Movie.

As alluded to in the start of the analysis, this movie describes a fling between two African-American youth, with both in their teens/early twenties.


This theme is rarely discussed in the world of movies. Specifically, it’s a theme rarely explored on the level of 17-25 years olds.


Most movies of younger love tend to be cliché or comedic. The cliché variants often exist throughout movie shows, and developed throughout multiple episodes and seasons.


As for the comedic variants, those tend to be over-the-top, often bringing forth elements of clownish displays in an attempt to gain affection.


This movie doesn’t do that. Instead, it brings as much of reality as possible into a drama writing. And it does so while maintaining the depth of each character.


It brings elements of culture, politics, art, and emotional struggles, and it turns the movie into a relatable piece of artwork, instead of an impossible fiction or a slapstick piece.


Finally, this movie discusses love at a crucial life stage, or the quarter-life milestone. Through it comes an introduction to serious relationships, future contemplations, career struggles, and an attempt to discover one’s place in the world.


All of those elements appear in the movie, whether directly or indirectly. And it makes it worth viewing.

Written by: SHAUNA D




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