@Tribeca Film Festival: ‘The Weekend’ is Everything You’ve Ever Wanted to Say to Your Ex’s New Companion
Film: The Weekend
Getting over an ex can be tough. But getting over an ex who’s intent on staying friends, and who appears to have had no trouble getting over you can be downright brutal. That’s the situation 29-year-old comedian Zadie (Sasheer Zamata) finds herself in—still hung up on her old boyfriend Bradford (Tone Bell) and still using him as fodder in her stand-up act, even though he’s now dating the very different Margo (DeWanda Wise).
When Zadie agrees to travel with the couple to her mother’s (Kym Whitley) bed and breakfast for a weekend getaway, disaster seems like it could be imminent. But instead, especially after the arrival of handsome solo traveler Aubrey (Y’lan Noel), it begins to feel like maybe third-wheeling it was the best idea Zadie ever had. Writer and director Stella Meghie (Jean Of The Joneses; Everything, Everything) has crafted a warm, wry third feature that not only deftly weaves together comedy and romance in an intimate setting, but that also provides a glorious showcase for its former Saturday Night Live star lead.
The Weekend, starring Sasheer Zamata, is a comedy with an incredible ensemble cast. Actors Tone Bell, Kym Whitley, DeWanda Wise, and Y’lan Noel act alongside Zamata in a movie that is not to be missed. As a fan of stand up comedy, I chose to view this film because the synopsis caught my eye. After viewing the film I was extremely impressed by the screenwriter and director Stella Meghie’s ability to create such realistic and fleshed out characters. I felt connected to all of the characters, as if I knew them and understood what they were going through. That is an extremely powerful thing for a screenwriter to be able to accomplish. Premiering at Tribeca Film Fest this year, this hysterically realistic movie was filled with outstanding performances.
Sasheer plays a 29-year-old stand up comic named Zadie who still hasn’t gotten over her last relationship which ended three years ago. Her ex boyfriend Bradford, played by Tone Bell, is still friends with Zadie and close with her mother, played by Kym Whitley. Zadie’s mom invites Zadie and Bradford to stay at the bed and breakfast she runs for a weekend trip and to Zadie’s dismay, he invites his new girlfriend Margo, played by DeWanda Wise, to come along with him. And on top of that, there is another guest staying at the bed and breakfast who is thrown into this awkward situation filled with a rich and complicated history. The humor in the film comes from the characters relationships with each other, and Zadie’s constant critique of Margo. “Margo doesn’t watch the news. It’s on at the same time as Real Housewives.” The film is filled with awkward conversations and uncomfortable pauses.
Films about stand up comedy are growing in popularity. I have seen a lot of films that include stand up comedy, where their act is just downright terrible. I understand that it’s a movie, and not a comedy show, but unless you want the comedian to not be funny on purpose, then the routine should make the audience laugh. Thankfully, the stand up comedy performed in the movie was actually funny and the jokes were connected to the plot of the film. Sasheer’s stand up routine was used in the beginning and the end of the film, framing the movie beautifully. It was also a very smart way transition from the serene energy at the bed and breakfast location. Most of the film took place in the countryside, which balanced out the easiness felt between the characters. I also liked the fact that Meghie slightly touched on Zadie’s mild bipolar disorder instead of making it a main focus of the film. The fact that it was part of who she was and colored aspects of her personality, but it wasn’t viewed as her main or only characteristic made a strong impression on me. It didn’t define her even though it was part of her, and I think that’s a very important message. The dynamic between all of the characters was spot on and very entertaining.
While I didn’t find many flaws in the film, I was able to guess the ending very early on. It didn’t ruin it for me, but I always like it better if the movie is able to surprise me. Zadie also reminded me of an Aubrey Plaza type of character, which has started to become an overused persona used in film and television. Sasheer played the character in such a unique and believable way, that I was able to get over the fact that this type of personality has been written before.
The Weekend’s comedic moments were built on the relationships between the characters. When Zadie’s ex Bradford told her he invited his girlfriend to come with him because he just couldn’t say no, Zadie responded by saying “You can always say No. That’s what they teach you in Rape Prevention.” Filled with priceless snarky one liners, this cleverly written and well constructed narrative is a must watch.
FILM RATING (out of 5)