Cast: Zora Howard, Joshua Boone, Michelle Wilson, Alexis Marie Wint
Director: Rashaad Ernesto Green
I’ll start off my review of Premature by stating something fairly obvious; this movie wasn’t made for me. It was definitely made for a portion of the population that I don’t identify or relate to, but once again, it’s a case of the themes and feelings transcending the screen and relating to anyone who ends up watching this movie. For an independent movie that features the emergence of a few actors that we should be keeping an eye on, Premature takes an intimate look into the transition into adulthood, the consequences of our actions, and the reality that most of us face as we grow older.
The film follows Ayanna (Howard), a recent high school grad spending her final summer before college with her friends in Upper Manhattan. When she meets Isaiah (Boone), a musician trying to make a name for himself, the two grow closer and start a relationship. As time passes and they learn more about each other, they face the harsh truth of their situation and what happens when you get yourself involved with someone in a more emotional manner. Going back to one of my most famous talking points, a great movie will be able to connect to audiences outside of the ones that they believe will watch it. There are multiple scenes in Premature that I’ll never be able to fully understand, but the general premise seems to be something that’s universally relatable. If you can reimagine the anxiety associated with your first steps into the real world and the uncertainty that comes with that moment in time, all of that is harnessed in Premature. When it’s combined with a romantic element that can be easily relatable to almost anyone, you have a general premise that connects with everyone watching for as much of the 86 minute runtime as possible. Even though at times the title of the movie feels like it should be Immature instead of Premature, it fits within the overall tone of the movie. For a younger actress, this could be the type of performance that really opens for Howard in her early career. She absolutely commands all of her scenes and shows us that she’s ready to take on a leading role in something with a larger budget in the future. Not too many people have the talent or the experience to carry a movie the way she does and I hope we get to see more of her down the line. Premature feels like a movie that will launch a handful of careers and hopefully provides more opportunities for the young, talented people behind this movie. Ranging from raw, gritty, and real, to soft, caring, and kind, Premature captures the true essence of one of life’s most confusing time periods and organizes it in a way that also the realities that black Americans face on a daily basis. It’s a difficult task to take on, but it’s clear from the beginning that Premature knows what it’s doing and so much better than the average movie.
Overall, most people will go through their life without watching Premature, but when you take into consideration representation and why it matters, Premature serves to show how a different subsect of the population lives and how much common ground there is between people of different backgrounds. When you break everything down, the human elements found in Premature are truly the things that matter most in the world and if we’d focus our time on the things that make us similar instead of the things that make us different, we can finally move forward and heal as a collective.
Overall Score: 7.5/10