While The Weekend presents a unique character in Sasheer Zamata’s Zadie, you may struggle to connect with her, or the film as a whole.
|Screenplay By||Stella Meghie|
|Genre(s)||Romance, Drama, Comedy|
|Good If You Like||
Plot Summary/ Review (with Spoilers)
Zadie is in her late 20s, does stand up comedy, and lives a life which is supported by her sometimes-disparaging mother, Karen. But, during one weekend, she finds herself with her ex Bradford, who broke up with her 3 years ago, his new girlfriend Margo, who he has been dating for 2 years, her mom Karen, and this guy named Aubrey. The combination of these characters leads to an exploration of what Bradford really wants in life and where Zadie is. Not just emotionally but maturity in a way as well.
Collected Quote(s) or .Gifs
There’s nothing wrong with my hearing. It just takes me a minute to register what you’re asking and if I should be answering you.
The older I get, the less I feel the need to explain myself.
You should never put yourself in a position to apologize.
The only character you may consistently like, and latch onto, is Karen. With her, she is straight forward, no mess, and while sometimes mean to Zadie, you get it. Zadie is the kind of character who, if they were your kid, you’d have to have a cathartic release sometimes with. Especially since you are supporting their lifestyle and there aren’t necessarily signs your investment may end up with a return.
But, even outside of her relationship with Zadie, I must say there is something about Kym Whitley’s performance that makes you want to see what has she done lately? For when it comes to her, we are often given these bubbly characters who are, at best, characters you’d imagine on Claws. But, with the role of Karen, you see potential for her to expand beyond what she is known for and maybe venturing into drama. If not the kind of dramedies we don’t really see Black folk star in too often since there are either shows like The Chi or what OWN has on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, or Insecure and shows of that ilk.
So here is hoping Whitley inspires someone to create a nice middle and casts her in it.
Zadie Not Being Written With An Agenda
One of the main reasons Zadie may grate you a bit is because she is so rare that you have to adjust to her. As a character, she goes beyond what many Black women are often written as in terms of the usual tropes and Zadie feels like she is written strictly to be her authentic self. Meaning, she isn’t meant to be representative of how diverse Black women are, to show their vulnerability or humanity. Zadie is simply Zadie and while being a Black woman is part of her identity, it isn’t the sum of her identity nor the reason behind what she says or does.
Which isn’t to downplay what it means to be a Black woman in America, but you have to recognize Zadie has certain privileges which allows her to simply be Zadie. Her mother pays to maintain her lifestyle and with that, she is afforded privileges we rarely see Black women have. Specifically the ability to be direct in a way which can be seen as mean spirited, or even sometimes vulgar. Yet, because of her privilege, there is no backtracking or toning herself down to avoid the multitude of tropes and stereotypes placed upon Black women. Thus, Zamata gets to present this rare kind of freedom in which being carefree and Black seems real and not just a forlong hope or a social media hashtag. Making it so, at this point in time, she is allowed to produce an incomparable performance.
On The Fence
Most Of The Characters May Get On Your Nerves
Outside of Karen, many of the characters may give you a headache. Bradford is a borderline F-Boy who can’t deal with his ex moving on, much less onto someone better, and Margo? She is passive-aggressive and presents a certain air of bougieness that, when combined with Zadie’s disposition, makes their scenes like a nail going against a chalkboard. Which likely was intended. But what having characters like this pushes onto the viewer is the question of how much should likability be a factor in your enjoyment or praise of a film? Do they need to be like Aubrey, who is just made into an outright good guy, or is the fact they got some kind of reaction out of you, good or bad, all that matters?
Overall: Mixed (Divisive)
Outside of the praise for Karen, there is a bit of a challenge saying anything else makes The Weekend worth renting or purchasing. For while Zadie, as she is written, is appealing and noteworthy, as a character in a book or script, she is wonderful. However, watching her as a person? It makes you praise such a depiction of a Black woman yet if you take away that element, it makes Zadie your general annoying, privileged lead. Especially in a film like this.
Hence the mixed label. While Karen may deliver some quality one-liners, the rest of the film relies on you taking note of the ethnicity of the characters. For it is in barely seeing Black women like Zadie that makes this film stand out, but with that not being paired with a character you want to spend almost 90 minutes with, besides this generically likable man, in the form of Aubrey, that is why our overall opinion on The Weekend is divisive.