Guest Author - Jamise Grace Liddell
Written and Directed By: Iris Huey
Starring: Devine Muhammad, Adrian Marcel Williams, Iris Huey, Harold Branch III, Ky Moni Abraham, Duane Patrick Miller, Camille "So Jazzy" Jenkins, Billy Ramsey, Brandey McLarren
Rated: Not yet rated, but I would give it a PG-13
Runtime: 1 hour 33 mins
Studio: Big I Entertainment
A fan and supporter of independent films, I am always watching for the new indie work. Usually such work runs too long, goes too deep, or not deep enough, and frequently seems so obsessed with itself as a body of work, the director forgets there is an audience suffering through the visual pontificating, so it was completely refreshing to watch Second Chance and actually feel moved, entertained and happy.
Second Chance was screened earlier this year at the Arizona Black Film Showcase and I have been holding this review for what I thought would be the inevitable distribution of the movie. I haven't, however, seen Second Chance at the local theatres or on my DVD store shelves and decided the review must go on. When the Second Chance ending credits rolled, I was so proud of writer, director and composer Iris Huey that I shed a few tears in a front of a crowd of about 300 folks.
Not necessarily a new plot, Second Chance is about a man named Omar who has left his woman, Nia and Micah, his child, then 5 long years later, Omar deduces that his decision to flee was a poor one, and attempts to re-enter his child's life. What makes this film tasty is how the storyline is presented.
Omar and Nia have chemistry as a couple, but a difficult past. The question is this, can Nia put aside her bitter feelings for a man she once loved, who left her to raise his child alone? The complexities of this dilemma are artfully explored in Second Chance. As folks in Omar and Nia's social circles all weigh in on the decision at hand and the outcome.
A seasoned writer, poet and spoken word artist, Devine Muhammad is not new to the stage and is a natural in her first feature role. The camera is nourished by her presence. Adrian Marcel Williams is a fine actor who skillfully shows the range of emotions needed for a character like Omar. Williams also has a diverse performing arts background, mainly as a recording artist, and the big screen treated him like an old friend. It would not be a surprise if admirers repeatedly viewed this film just to gawk at Williams for while.
Huey excels and exceeds all expectations in her first feature film, leaving the audience wanting more of the characters and the world that she created. Having judged many film festivals and independent films, without question, Second Chance stands out because of its solid storyline, magnetic characters, and familiar relationship scenarios. Second Chance is the type of film that pinpoints relations between a man and woman who love one another, the depths of issues, and leaves the viewer nodding their head with understanding.
Many scenes in the film felt life like and familiar, but there was none more touching, than when Nia introduced her son Micah to his father for the first time. When Omar embraced his son, it was a powerful moment. Hankies please.
In light of the bad rap that many African American men get about fatherhood Second Chance is a fair film, especially to Black men, while Huey does not reward nor affirm the actions of its lead character, the writer director does, explore the challenges of male, female motivation, intention and communication around love relationships and parental responsibility.
Second Chance is yet another testament to the plethora of talent in the black community, and the importance of exploring issues that face people of color. Though a man leaving a woman and his children, can happen in any culture, there are some specific consequences that men of color are more than likely destined by society to face; mainly because of the publicized and socialized expectation that they lack in the fatherhood department. While some fathers do not measure up, many men do own up to their responsibilities, or have strong reasons of why they do not do what is expected. Kudos to Huey and Second Chance for putting an interesting face on fatherhood.