It’s been 15 years since I inappropriately coached Angela Bassett on as her character, Bernadine Harris, set her cheating husband’s luxury vehicle on fire after she was dissed and dismissed in the 1995 film, Waiting To Exhale.
While the film adaptation of author Terry McMillan’s bestseller may have not be a cinematic masterpiece to some film critics, I found the movie entertaining. It’s one I can still watch years later with the same level of interest I did when it was originally released.
How many of us can say the same about much of the black films released in the last decade?
After you wipe your silent tears following your answers, I encourage you to join me in excitement over news that the book’s sequel, Getting To Happy, will likely see its film adaptation released next year.
McMillan took to Twitter this week to confirm that she and writer Lori Lakin Hutcherson are working on the film’s script and that production should begin soon.
Already some are wondering if we should even bother waiting for the movie.
Though three of the film’s stars — Angela Bassett, Lela Rochon, and Loretta Devine — have been confirmed to reprise their roles, we still haven’t heard from Whitney Houston.
It’s easy to assume that McMillan and 20th Century Fox would not begin production without her.
Still, some ask whether or not it’s been too long and worry that the film may fall short of the original’s quality.
Others question whether or not a film largely centered on black women in their mid 50s can do well given it’s an image typically unseen on the big screen
Why not give the film a chance before ruling it out completely?
If nothing else, I believe we should be encouraged Hollywood is producing a black movie that doesn’t center on a wedding, funeral, biopic, or other movie we’ve already seen before.
As much as I want black filmmakers to succeed, I am a bit bored with much of what’s being churned out in recent years.
How many more times can Hollywood give us movies about upper middle class black folk conflicting with their working class brethren?
Or just how many more lessons can one elderly drag queen share with the world?
Is it a requirement that the only decent black films to come out now be maudlin?
They can and should continue to exist, but where’s the alternative?
During a speaking engagement with Mary Mackey at California Lectures last month, Terry McMillan had this to say about Getting To Happy: “I like writing about victimized women. They know they are down, but they know they don’t belong there. Women are not willing to admit how disappointed they are with their lives. We can be responsible for our life.”
McMillan has proven herself to be able to write about female characters with nuance.
If you’re like me and watched Tyler Perry’s For Colored Girls and suddenly became envious of Helen Keller, you realize that it’s about time more tell their own stories on the big screen.
To naysayers and doubters, maybe Getting To Happy won’t be as great as the original film and perhaps it may be challenging for a film featuring older black women to succeed the way its white counterparts have.
But what if it is as entertaining and does well enough to show Hollywood that there are still plenty of black faces and stories outside of the status quo commercially viable?
The possibilities alone have me holding my breath on the Waiting to Exhale sequel.
If that’s not enough for you, I hope you enjoy Madea’s Christmas Revival.
I’m sure the announcement of that and news on the Sparkle remake are coming any day now.