Black Lives — Goldie, Support the Girls, and Joy

Here at Mostly Indies, a place where you can read about the movies you won’t be seeing in any multiplex near you, we (and by we, I mean I) value diversity in cinema. Yours truly prefers to go with the alternative instead of the blockbuster, vanity project for the sheer reason that there is more to the narrative than popcorn. In that vein, the writer at this page also has made it a point to focus on cinema that portrays Black Lives in a powerful way. So commencing now, this will be a running theme throughout my page for as long as I have the will to write because until the Hollywood machine can stop perpetuating the Black experience through White characters, or even worse, perpetuate Black stereotypes that serve nothing but to diminish the lives of Black Americans, this is all he can do.

Slick Woods in Goldie.


From the moment you see her, you see splashing blotches of color that announce her before you see snippets of her figure, lean and gamine, racing through the streets of her Bronx neighborhood to a performance. Goldie is played by newcomer to movies Slick Woods, a fashion model who displays equal parts naivete and mixes it with a Don’t-fuck-with-me” vibe. Goldie has drive, ambition, and a hunger for fame that constantly presents itself in images of gold and yellow. Goldie aspires to be in a hip-hop video, a vision in yellow from her head to her feet. She has no fear. Her career, she tells her boss who fires her for being late one too many times, is about to take off.

If life were that simple. Goldie constantly sees herself “there”, but has not the means nor the smarts, and that will prove to be her Oedipus heel. During a furious, 85 minute run, we see Goldie in constant movement: darting back and forth trying to escape some security guards after stealing a precious item — a yellow onesie — that will form a part of her crucial leap into fame.

Next, we see her amongst what seems to be an extremely dysfunctional family. Here the dysfunction stems from poverty itself — lack of education, perpetuated by generations of parents raised in neglect and the false idea that “this is what it is to be us”. Her mother, played by Marsha Stephanie Blake (last seen in click here see methode dissertation de philo google text-to-speech essay on independence day of india in sanskrit get link viprogra go to link source site essay about competition is healthy essay on book is my best friend in urdu follow url exhibition review thesis where can i buy clomid uk meaning of viagra for women doxycycline dosages for dogs cialis warning a holiday to remember essay argumentative essay biofuel follow link introduction dissertation voyage list of good words to use in essays get link theses dissertations computer science cost viagra kenya reporter rindo do viagra Luce as Octavia Spencer’s crack-addicted and mentally unstable sister), is barely there, living just to exist with a boyfriend (Danny Hoch) who is a horror show of a parent. She has two adorable little sisters (who introduce every character with voices that sound like sunshine on a city playground).

It seems that Goldie and her family live in the suspense that one day they may get evicted (from what I could glean). Eventually, the worst comes to happen in the guise of money Goldie steals from her stepfather, an act that leads to her mother taking the fall in an arrest. This alone quite literally tears the family nucleus apart from the center, leaving Goldie with nowhere to go and the tenacious custody of her two sisters who will most likely wind up in foster homes.

This predicament, however, doesn’t deter Goldie from achieving her dream of being famous. It is here where the story threatens to turn Goldie into a narcissistic caricature that no one could root for. How could someone in their right mind be so committed to “making it big” when the odds are so stacked against her is the one question that I kept asking myself until I realized what was happening.

It’s one thing to have dreams that are achievable, but Goldie doesn’t yet know it yet. She is a force of nature moving at such speed that a collision with an unmovable object is but a given. Goldie, however, and despite it all, soldiers on with the fearlessness of a bull in a China shop, all instinct and aggression and nothing else, until she reaches a point where the cards say no, turn back, not this time.

Sam de Jong’s Goldie is in the vein of Italian Neo-realism seen through the eyes and experience of its brave but ultimately rash protagonist. This is a bold little movie that presents what many in the sidelines, naked of privileges, go through on a daily basis because of how society as a whole has been turned into a game that is rigged from the get-go. In one telling scene, Slick Woods looks straight into the camera, her eyes almost asking for either sympathy or an answer to her predicament. I can’t but hope that even in a fictional world Goldie — or let me rephrase it as the Goldies of the world — will find their niche instead of wallowing in lurid fantasies fueled themselves by the hip=hop culture.

Regina Hall leads a cast of young actresses in Andrew Bujalski’s Support the Girls

Support the Girls

There is something deeply unsettling about watching women work in environments that lean towards debasement in exchange for a few bucks and dreams just out of reach. Andrew Bujalski’s 2018 film Support the Girls doesn’t delve deep into the issue, but in its short running time, its story flies around Lisa (Regina Hall), a general manager of a breastaurant located in what seems to be an anonymous part of the United States. Throughout one day, Lisa will try to tackle whatever calamity she has to face, and in 90 minutes, they will be quite a bit with next to no release. From a would-be burglar stuck in a ventilator to trying to raise money for a waitress only to find out that the money has ulterior motives, another employee having an affair with a customer, yet another one violating company rules by getting a visible tattoo, to a boss (played to slimeball perfection by James Le Gros) constantly threatening to fire her, Lisa has the unenviable task of having to keep it all together while the world around her threatens to come undone. Regina Hall has never been better, and in fact, she is the glue holding Bujalski’s slight film — itself reminiscent of Sean Baker’s The Florida Project — together. This is a woman that has made some wayward choices in getting caught in what seems to be a cul-de-sac of opportunity. On top of the terrible work circumstances, she finds herself having to be there for a precocious son while grappling a tense situation with a husband who seems to be in the grips of depression. Support the Girls is often funny where it needs to be, otherwise, it would be a rather downbeat film in which nothing these isolated people do will spawn any roots and everything will lead to a dead end.


If you made it as far as here you will find that Sudabeh Mordetzai’s Nigerian-Austrian movie Joy will go far beyond where Bujalski’s would fear to tread. This is a powerfully depressing film that begins with a young woman, Precious (Precious Mariam Sanusi) entering what appears to be a ritualistic cleansing via a juju priest but unbeknownst to her is essentially a trap that will enslave her to the world of human trafficking. Because they operate as illegal aliens Precious, like many before and after her, will have little luck but to pay off “debt”.

That “debt” is the carrot that looms over tantalizingly in front of the women we encounter living in squalor in an unnamed city. It hovers over, menacingly, like the interest people with actual credit card debt will have a hard time paying. The title character, Joy (the magnetic Joy Anwuilka Alphonsus), steps up to the madame (Angela Ekeleme Pius), a ruthless tyrant who in exchange for Precious’ inability (unwillingness) to sexually perform for the clients she meets on the streets has her brutally raped (offscreen — still, it is brutal to witness).

Because of this now Joy must oversee Precious’ performance if only to ensure that her own release does not get delayed by having to forfeit her own hard-earned money to pay off for Precious. When the opportunity to become a whistleblower appears Joy is hesitant. What guarantees does she have to remain in Austria legally? Slim to none.

Joy is a movie that offers little in the emotion and comes with almost no answers as to how these abused women will manage to survive when the odds are stacked up against them in both Europe and their native Nigeria. The actresses, reportedly former streetwalkers themselves, fully inhabit Mortezai’s aching wound of a movie. It is refreshing to see how the women working under Madame behave — almost as sisters — although it’s also clear there is a sharp competition amongst them to deliver. That is the false sense of security that permeates the story: even when you think that you are safe with the women you share tight quarters with, they will throw you under the bus at the slightest notice.

I will tell you, this was a hard watch for me because you ache at the choices that led these women to be so brainwashed into believing that the power of their religion mandates they sell their own bodies for a pittance. I’m not glad I saw this movie — but it is a necessary view in order to understand the plight of the forgotten, because these, at one point, were the light of their mothers’ eye — little girls with promise, now shattered and damaged.

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