Through the crafty storytelling of Canadian writer and Jean of the Joneses Creator, Stella Meghie, we got the opportunity to peek, I mean, thrown into, the dysfunction that is the Jones family. At the onset, we are able to witness a “timeout/breakup” between Jean and her boyfriend, Jeremiah. While this scenario between Jean and Jeremiah is a recurring scene throughout the movie it is not the focal point. The focal point, is well…Jean.
Jean, played by the uber talented Taylour Paige, is a twenty something up and coming writer that could be easily be named, “Jean of Doom”. Everything with her seems to be earth shattering..the end. Her life ongoing life crises, however, is met with a sense of calmness that communicates her belief that somehow “it”, whatever, it is…will be fine and will somehow work out.
The Jean family consists of Daphne, played brilliantly by Michelle Hurst, is the matriarch of the family and the keeper of all of the secrets, Jean’s mother, Maureen (Sherri Shepherd), Jean’s aunt’s, Anne (Erica Hurst), and Janet (Gloria Reuben) round out the almost completely female cast. The layers of dysfunction somehow bonds us to these characters immediately.
During the hour and half, the “aha moments” of each of the characters is told swiftly, but without the viewer feeling rushed. The characters, who SEEM vastly different, are more alike than they are even willing to admit.
My takeaways from Jean of the Joneses includes :
- the myth family secrets are the best method for dealing with past hurts should be debunked
- sometimes we “stumble” into our purpose
- “leaning in” to your awkwardness is absolutely acceptable (cue: Issa Rae and the brand that is Awkward Black Girl)
Stella Meghie deserves a standing ovation for how she is able to take a complex subject matter like family secrets and reminds us that hiding “wounds of the past” actually does more harm than discussing them.
The next time it airs on TV One, make sure to tune in, as it’s one of the best hour and a half you will spend.
One final note, kudos to Ray, played by Mamadou Athie, who slowly and quietly became THAT Dude.
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