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Film Critique

In: Film and Music

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Brown Sugar
Mary Smith
ENG225: Introduction to Film
Prof Nathan Pritts
August 26, 2015

Brown Sugar
A girl and boy who have been lifelong friends A&R Andre and Editor in Chief Sidney attribute their friendship to the day they fell in love with hip hop music. Time as past and the friendship has remained in tack despite their different career paths. It has been fifteen years later and Sidney moves returns home where she is now Chief and Editor of XXL magazine only to find out that the love of hip-hop is not the only thing that brings them back together again.
Brown Sugar plot revolves around the relationship between Sidney (Sannaa Lathan) and Dre (Taye Diggs) who have been childhood friends. Sidney has taken the position of editor and chief of the hip-hop magazine XXL back in her home town Brooklyn. Dre is a partner in a music label called Millennium Records. Upon Sidney return to Brooklyn Dre reveals that he is preparing to marry Reese (Nicole Ari Parker) who is a successful entertainment attorney. This news sends Sidney into a subconscious tizzy.
Sidney going forward after hearing the news of Dre getting married finds herself struggling to interact with Dre. After hanging out before his wedding Sidney impulsively kiss Dre and from that kiss lead them to a confusing night of intimacy and cracking doubt about everything between them. Dre goes through with the wedding and tries to settle in with his new wife and life. While in pursuit of a new artist Dre is faced with choose between his love for true Hip Hop and his job. His partner has signed two untalented commercially rappers for Dre to work with. This decision pushes Dre to spontaneously quit his job and start his own record company and produce the Hip Hop music he once fell in love with. Dre sits down with Reese and inform her of his decision and she is not supportive of the new venture. With this venture and Sidney being Dre silent partner Reese become jealous over Sidney and Dre’s friendship.
Sidney while doing an interview with Kelby (Boris Kodjoe) they start a blossoming relationship that moves quickly into a marriage proposal and which Sidney accepts. Dre confronts Sidney after the proposal and brings doubts about her relationship with Kelby because of his cracking doubt about his own wife. Moving forward in the plot Dre finds out that one morning on his way to work he has Reese phone instead of his. From this mistake Dre finds out that Reese is cheating with a guy from her gym. While having Reese phone she gets a texts confirming a rendezvous with the guy. Not informing Sidney Dre brings her along to bust Reese in the act of cheating. Sidney drags Dre out the restaurant and back to her place and this night turns into a shared passion of love between the two. Sidney now is having more doubts about her marrying Kelby. The engagement is called off and while looking for Dre to let him know that she is not marrying Kelby, she sees Dre embrace Reese with a huge that now Sidney has misconstrues as more.
Sidney has completed writing a book in title I Used to Love H.I.M and she being interviewed at the Hot 97 radio station. Dre and Cavi (Mos Def) are waiting to hear his first single play on the Angie Martinez show. While waiting Dre hears Sidney talking about her new book I used to Love H.I.M. The storyline for the book is based on Sidney love affair with Hip Hop; it really is a chronicled time line of her love affair with Dre. Dre hears the interview and quickly rushes over to the station to confirm his feelings as well to Sidney. Out in the production booth Francine (Queen Latifah) Sid’s cousin finally askes Cavi’ out on a date which something he had been trying since their first meeting at Sid’s house for New Year’s Eve party.
The film ends with Cavi’s song being played in the same park where Dre and Sidney love of Hip Hop began.
The film was told in chronological order. This helped build the connection throughout the film for the audience and their hidden childhood, adolescence, teenager, adult love. Throughout the movie Sidney and Dre realize that when they originally fell in love with Hip-Hop was when they were secretly fell in love with each other. Their love was hidden and only communicated through the love of music. This chronological order of the film build on every emotion, good, bad, are fear that brought the ending of the movie to an anticipating ending.
With the chronological story telling it help develop the characters of Dre and Sidney in realizing that the love of Hip Hop was only a cover for the love they had for each other.
If the film had taken a non-linearly effect the ending would not have been as anticipating as it was for the audience. The movie could have gone with the flash back from adulthood to childhood but that would have taken away from the development of their love to each other. In the different office settings the lighting techniques used are the same which is high-key lighting with the help of natural outside light. In Sidney’s office the lighting is natural low-key with the high-key lighting coming from the window beside her. The lamp on her desk is just for decoration because it would cause a glare on the actor faces. In the office the light gives you the illusion that it may be earlier to mid-morning where Sidney is located. There is no shadow are over cast in her office are on her face. In Dre office the light is low-key with also the use of the outside natural light which takes the shadows away and gives a crisp look on the actor’s faces. It also appears to be mid-morning from the way the lighting is cast in the conference room. In the transition from Dre’s office and Sidney’s office the lighting remain morning bright sunshine with no need for the ceiling lighting. In our textbook reading Film: From watching to seeing (2nd ed.) this type of light high-key when the bright light is over everything with few shadows with relatively low contrast is used for comedies, happy scenes, and festival scene (Goodykoontz, Jacbos, 2014). There could have been the use of three-point lighting which would have cause for a hard shadow across Sidney’s face while sitting at her desk and for Dre while standing up centered for the back-light from the window to give the shadow. However with that in Dre scene it would have cause a hard dark look across his partner face and a glare on the other board members faces and images. With Sidney the three-point lighting would have given a dramatic effect in the scene which would have taken away from the comedy aspect of the scene. Music is what brings the dialogue and sound effects together. With the dialogue that transpires between the characters and the music gives way to the background sound effects brings the scene into reality for the audiences. The film starts off with the sounds of Doug E Fresh getting crowd hype at a concert. With that brings in the opening theme of the movie Sidney asking when did you first fall in love with hip-hop. Throughout the film the music is from the early 80’s when hip-hop first hit the music scene. The interviews with various hip-hop artist at the beginning of the film brings into relationship and remembering that first kiss. In the first scene with Sidney and Dre the classic hip-hop beat plays keeping the mind engaged in the love of hip-hop. The sound effects in the movie are always music from the early 80’s keeping with the theme and the plot of the film. Sannaa Lathan in my opinion is a character actor. She has played in various movies and television shows. Most of her roles have been supporting actor with a few lead roles. Sanna Lathan A beautiful faces and reminds you of the girl next door which she played in the film Love and Basketball. She has played supporting roles in movies, television, and Broadway plays. Sannaa Lathan in the past several years have played more starring roles than supporting. She performed in a number of Shakespeare’s plays and appeared on television shows such as; In the House, Family Matters, NYPD Blue and Moesha. In her role of Love and Basketball she won BET Award for best actress and in A Raisin in the Sun she won Best Female lead role.
Taye Diggs character actor he has played in a lot of plays and small film movies since 1996. After plays Taye Diggs started in soap opera Guiding Light before How Stella Got Her Got Her Groove Back which brought him exposer in the film industry. He is more of a supporting actor than a lead noticeable star. He’s roles are all the same the common friend or guy next door as his role in The Wood and The Best Man. Taye Diggs have won some awards such as favorite supporting actor in a horror (House on Haunted Hill) and outstanding actor in a drama series in (Kevin Hill).
Queen Latifah (Francine) Personality actor who gained her career as a supporting acting in the film House Party 2, Juice and Jungle Fever. She also has been on television shows The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. The film that brought her to the top was the 1996 Set It Off but all these films and television shows were earlier career. The leading roles and supporting has been Last Holiday, Hairspray Taxi and Barbershop 2. She has been nominated for various parts in film but has never won.
Reflection
What can be gained from analyzing film is the creativity and in depth knowledge of how the director sees the movie and the plot. Knowing that the camera angles and music is what brings the scene and storyline together is a new profound experiences. I gained knowledge on how a film is made and what time and people it takes to make one movie. This has changed how I now view my favorite movies. I have gone back and looked at the scenery and the camera angles in specific scenes I like and realize how it was giving the dialogue to the moment of silence. In the film Brown Sugar with lead actress Sannan Lathan and Taye Diggs I did not notice the music throughout the movie playing in different scene where the actors were speaking. I was more focus on the words and not what was surrounding them to bring that scene in to focus. This course did not change my understanding of how movies are related to society. What it did was enhanced what I already believed and knew about the film industry. Movies have always brought comfort and pain in their development of the theme and plot. All movies are related to society because the film is written by someone who lives in society. Imagination of the human mind brings about the need of seeing it in real life.
What I have gained from the information provided in this class was observation with great detail. In my career dealing with early childhood preschooler children observation with great detail is important. Know the plot of which the child comes from gives the insight of how the child is going to response in certain situation within the classroom. Professional I realize that I have to consider everything and the surrounding environment when making a decision are giving my opinion. In life I it is not about what I see but also what I hear and sense at the time of events within my life. Overall this class was informative with the history of film making to the current technology changes that has enhanced the visual, audio, and time it goes into making a film.

References
Alleyne, R. (2008). Romantic comedies make us "unrealistic about relationships," claim scientists. The Telegraph.Retrieved from http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/film/3776923/Romantic-comedies-make-us-unrealistic-about-relationships-claim-scientists.html
Goodykoontz, B., & Jacobs, C. P. (2014). Film: From watching to seeing (2nd ed.). San Diego, CA: Bridgepoint Education, Inc. This text is a Constellation™ course digital materials (CDM) title. http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=brownsugar.htm https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sanaa_Lathan https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taye_Diggs https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Queen_Latifah

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