In The Morning is the type of film you have to give yourself time to process. For it forces you to think about what is said and makes you need time to deal with the thoughts and feelings it brings up in you. Especially since, when it is done, you can be just left overwhelmed with what suppressed thoughts and emotions it brings out.
Characters & Storyline
The story is split between Zuri’s (De’Adre Aziza) storyline dealing with a recently discovered pregnancy with her boyfriend, Leal (C.J. Lindsey), who she isn’t sure she wants to stay with. Much less have the baby of. Alongside Harper’s (Kim Hill) story which deals with her last day in Brooklyn before she moves to Brazil. Of which, she meets with her close group of friends and has many a conversation about love, why she is leaving Brooklyn, and we see her dealing with her ex-husband Ravi (Hoji Fortuna). Someone she remains close to.
Lastly, there is Malik (Jacky Ido) and Cadence (Emayatzy Corinealdi). She is the woman he could never commit to but finds himself craving the time and affection of. Yet, she is done. She cannot take his lack of commitment, the lacks of passion and the words everyone needs to hear any more. She can’t deal with his “Tactical Maneuvers” or calculated conversations anymore. It is time to move on.
I’ve come to understand that I am a woman best loved in retrospect. I don’t know if you’ll ever fully understand what I’ve been to you until I’m gone.
I’m always someone’s experience or adventure. Then, eventually, they settle down with someone they can either predict or control.
You choose people based on what they could be, not what they are. People don’t change, except for the worst in most cases.
We announce who we are in who we choose.
[…] Teenagers fall in and out of love everyday. I need to know that when the initial flush is over, and it will always be over, I need to know that I am not standing alone.
I know who I am with things. I need to know who I am with nothing. […] With no one to take care of me but myself.
More often than not, you don’t get real conversations in movies dealing with romance. You may get a lot of venting and complaints, but rarely real conversations about love, marriage, having kids, and even infidelity take place. So with this movie packing in very real, as in non-commercial, types of conversations you can imagine yourself or a friend having, it was so refreshing. Even if some weren’t as insightful or entertaining as others.
Perhaps the most noteworthy storyline comes from Cadence. As noted, she is talking to a man who is unavailable to her. He enjoys her company but he cannot commit to her and it isn’t so much the situation but their approach and conversation which makes it noteworthy. It is the idea that she is willing to be open, be vulnerable in the palm of his hand, while he speaks in tactical measures. Only giving her enough to string her along, but never seem like a villain. Especially because, as he notes often, she knew his situation from the get go. So you are left confused how to feel for there isn’t that usual romance film feel of the guy being an ass or you seeing the girl as the foolish mistress. You are reminded, throughout the whole movie actually, relationships can be so much more complicated than that.
Harper is out there and very much fits into the idea of a New York Black person. She got this certain edge and attitude, but there is something alternative to her that can’t simply be pinned down. The same goes for her group comprised of Bly (Numa Perrier), ex-husband Ravi, Fez (Alzo Slade), and her married friend Amara (JoNell Kennedy). People who really dive into the topic of love, dating and marriage, each from their own, sort of poetic, sometimes realist way. Together with Cadence’s story, that is where many of the quotes above stem from since the things they say aren’t just dialog to push a story along. They are the type of things which force you to reflect and take into consideration your relationships, for better or worse. To the point, honestly, you are even left wondering, if you are anything like me, where are these types of conversations in your life?
On The Fence
Zuri’s storyline is separate from the other two leads. For while she is familiar with Harper, and friends with Cadence, her storyline doesn’t directly tie with what is happening with the other two. It is hard to explain without giving everything away. But, focusing strictly on Zuri, her storyline deals with learning she is pregnant, not being happy in her relationship, and being unsure how to proceed.
Now, to me, this storyline had the weakest dialog and even in terms of tension, the grimaces and confusion of Leal just didn’t do it for me. In a way, it sort of felt like because Amara and Harper spoke on marriage, Bly spoke on dating and being single, alongside Fex, Zuri’s storyline was forced to complete the conversation. Said conversation being about dealing with a relationship which isn’t secured nor complicated by a ring, but instead by the potential of a baby and how that affects a relationship.
Overall: Positive (Worth Seeing)
While Zuri’s storyline puts a damper on things since it feels a bit forced and not as well thought out, the movie as a whole is very thought provoking. To the point, it does really force you to take a look at your relationships and conversations. It forces you to think about the conversations you really need to have and how they can be pursued, how they can turn out, and whether you have perhaps been avoiding them because you aren’t ready for them.
Hence the Positive label for there is rarely a thinking romance movie which doesn’t drown itself in a romanticized version of relationships or making them seem doom and gloom. For a lack of a better way to put it, In The Morning pursues the topic of relationships as an adult. Which isn’t to say each character lost that teenaged fantasy of what love is, but that they know and have experienced what love can be. So while they know the allure, they are also well read on its tricks. Thus bringing us the type of conversations that only those who have lived could have.
Shoutout to Shadow & Act for featuring the movie recently.