Nappily Ever After Review: It’s Not for Everyone

It was Coco Chanel who said, “A woman who cuts her hair is about to change her life”.  For Sanaa Lathan’s character, Violet, in Netflix’s Nappily Ever After, truer words have never been spoken. Nappily Ever After is a romantic comedy, reminiscent of the 90’s formulaic romantic dramedy, about a very successful yet deeply shallow woman who shaves her head after a break-up and begins her own journey of growth and self-actualization. She meets a man that gives her the love she has been longing for and they ride off into the sunset at the end. If that synopsis sounds like it could be about any romantic comedy, well that’s because this movie was just like any romantic comedy. There was nothing impressive about it; we’ve seen this story many times before, but executed in a better way. The acting was sub-par-we’ve seen better performances from these actors in other films. There were also some pretty glaring plot holes that made certain scenes seem disconnected from the story.  


Now, I’m not saying this was a bad movie, it was just predictable and underwhelming compared to all the hype that surrounded it. It’s not surprising that it took so long for this story to migrate from book to film. I mean, Universal Studios has owned the rights to the film since 2003. They previously secured Halle Berry as the lead, and with that star power alone the movie should be successful, right? I guess not because they dropped it and now we may know why.


Maybe if the writing was stronger, maybe if Lynn Whitfield didn’t overact as Violet’s bougie mother, maybe if they didn’t use a man to help Violet realize her own worth, it would be better, and what is that about? Why is it that in all of these movies a woman needs a new man for her to realize her worth? What is so bad about letting her figure it out all by herself? In the real world women are perfectly capable of going through emotionally distressing times without having a complete emotional breakdown, and if we do have an emotional breakdown we are perfectly able to crawl out of the hole of despair healthier, smarter, and stronger than before by our damn selves. We don’t always need a man to tell us our worth. We just need a few good friends, our mama, that one auntie that keeps it real, and God to give us support.


Let me just step down from my soapbox and continue my review. We will save those arguments for another day. As I was saying, the movie could have just been better all around. I honestly believe this movie has a very specific demographic and I just don’t fit into it. Personally, I feel if someone liked the movie, they are probably in their late 30s to early 60s, African American, and a heterosexual woman. Or, they are all of those things except they are the only white woman in their friend group. They remember going to the theatres to see, Waiting to Exhale, The Best Man, The Wood, or the one and only How Stella Got Her Groove Back. They really like Tyler Perry movies and maybe a few of his shows, but they definitely remember when he was writing plays-before Oprah launched his career. They might even have some of the plays on DVD, like my sister. There is nothing wrong with any of that. They like what they like and this movie was made just for them. To entertain them and give them a break from everything else that’s going on in the world. That’s great, I’m happy they enjoyed it; but for the rest of us, it missed the mark.


Written by Liz Bennett

New Show Alert: Netflix’s “Orange is the New Black”

Netflix is on a role with their original series. The first to triumph is “House of Cards,” starring Kevin Spacey, which just got nominated for a few Emmy’s. The political drama is, by far, one of the smartest shows to watch, and if you aren’t, you should be. Triumphing in second is the return of “Arrested Development,” which Netflix picked up for a fourth season, to the delight of their fans (new and old, thanks to Tumblr). And last but not least, “Orange is the New Black.”

Created by Jenji Kohan, the birth mother to the Showtime hit “Weeds,” OITNB hails from the memoir of Piper Kerman, played by Taylor Schilling, a privileged, blonde haired, happily engaged to a great guy, “Let’s do a cleanse!” anxious girl whose past catches up to her when she is trialed and charged up to 15 months in prison for smuggling drug money ten years ago with her then lover/drug dealer, Alex, played by “That 70s Show,” Laura Prepon. The show goes through her triumphs and failures of the jail life, and the person she realizes she is while in there.

The series is great, in that it’s comedic and dramatic in the right places, sexy and scandalous in other places, and down right interesting in that the ensemble cast, which includes an effortlessly badass Russian chef, Red (Kate Mulgrew), Sophia, a transsexual hairdresser (Laverne Cox), Dayanara, whose mother also happens to be an inmate and obviously wants nothing to do with her daughter (Dascha Polanco), Tasha, the hilarious loudmouth troublemaker (Danielle Brooks), Lorna (Yael Stone), the girl engaged to the love of her life but getting her sexual favors from Lyonne, and Nicky, the sexually engrossed druggie (Natasha Lyonne).

Of course, there are numerous characters, each with archetypes we never knew could exist in one small universe such as this one, and that’s the beauty of the show. It’s extremely diverse, with a multitude of women, from different races to different sexualities, and its ensemble, as a whole, keeps you watching. You think you know them, each and every character, based on what is broadcasted in the first few episodes. As you go on, though, you see that you are extremely wrong, and glad that you are, because the surprises are worth the surprise.

Lucy O’Brien of IGN calls it “Brilliance behind bars,” Emily Nussbaum at the New Yorker says it’s the “…love child of ‘Oz’ and ‘The L Word’,” and The Guardian deemed it in their list of one of the Best Shows of 2013.

Do us a favor? Watch it. It’s not one to regret.