Here I go again!. Being the obnoxious, repulsive bad boy that you love to hate, I have to confess that when word came out that a bio-pic about Barbara Jordan was being developed with Viola Davis in the lead, I had to let out a yawn and rolled my eyes.
Yes, yes. I can hear you now. What an important film this will be and that it needs to get made and that we MUST SUPPORT IT OR ELSE THEY’LL NEVER MAKE ANOTHER BLACK FILM LIKE THIS AGAIN AND WE’LL BE STUCK WITH TYLER PERRY MOVIES FOREVER and how you’ll be the first in line to see it and yadda yadda yadda. They said the same thing about Red Rails we all know how that worked out. As I say over and over again until your ears are bleeding, people see a film because they WANT to and not because they HAVE to
But how many of you who say that REALLY mean it? That you’re really going to go out and support that film if and when it comes out. I guess is none. Sure you say that to make yourself sound good to others, and more importantly yourself, but I doubt…no…make that… I know that most of you aren’t really eager to see a film about Jordan that’s going to be as stiff and lifeless as that statue pictured above.
What we have here is yet another perfect example of a black “castor oil” movie (a term I take credit for and should get a trademark on) A film that’s good for you, but really hard to take down and try to avoid at any cost. How many black “castor oil” films have we had and have died a misrerable death at the box office? Too many to count.
Of course, Jordan was an important figure and accomplished many great things, but not every famous person in history deserves a film about their lives.
And besides, if the film should get made will it deal with Jordan’s personal life being a closeted gay person involved in a 30 year relationship with another woman? Understandably, being a black person, from the South and considering those times, it was kept quiet while Jordan was alive. But would the film honstly deal with it today? Or like J. Edgar just tiptoe around the facts or just ignore it completely afraid to offend those church going, conservative folk (black, white or whatever) who would have an issue with it.
However in fairness, the director attached to the film, Paris Barclay, is an openly gay man, who in interviews that I’ve read, has criticized homophobia in society and the film business. I doubt if he would make a film about Jordan and not deal with her personal life in an honest way. However if the film plays as the typical Hollywood idolatry bio-pic creating a one dimensional person instead of a living and breathng human being as I suspect, then what’s the point?
And then again, we have Davis yet again playing a sexual nutured woman whose character is defined by her profession and not her personality which I wrote about on S & A HERE last month. It’s a trap that she has fallen into.
As I’ve said before she needs to develop her own projects showing her as a sexually vibrant, alluring person that dark skinned woman rarely, if ever, are shown on screen instead letting those roles usually go to the Paula Pattons of the world. (Honest nothing against Paula Patton I’m saying…)
So I’m not waiting exactly with bated breath for a film about Barbara Jordan and neither really are you, despite what you say.