Julien Neaves – Editor
Two things that most Trinis love are movies and free stuff. So being a proud Trini myself I have been enjoying the Trinidad+Tobago Film Festival (ttff) WatchAMovieOnUs series of free films. The series is eight films over eight weekends from May 24-July 12 but is only available to Caribbean viewers (sorry international folks, you know I love you guys too).
This weekend (June 20-21) the film is Sally’s Way, a family feature written and directed by TT filmmaker Joanne Gail Johnson and winner of People’s Choice for Best Feature at ttff 2015. It is the story of an imaginative, independent young girl who has to move in with a rich Indo-Trinidadian family after her grandmother is hospitalised. She has trouble fitting in with the new family, is a pariah at school and worries she will be sent to an orphanage. But through friendships, both old and new, and a vibrant entreprenuerial spirit she strives to make her dreams come true. Here is my spoiler-free review:
As a pure family film Sally’s Way is unique among Trini features. The closest to another family feature would be Green Days by the River but even that has some content unsuitable for younger viewers.
But in the case of Sally’s Way the content is very G-rated. And the plot is uncomplicated and has a refreshing innocence to it, even if it does occassionally dip its toes into clichéd waters. You can tell that the movie was primarily aimed at younger viewers, and by extension their families, and we definitely need more films like this to help diversify the TT cinema landscape and Cariwood (Caribbean cinema) as well.
The cast is a mix of veteran local actors and newcomers of the stage and screen. Veterans Hansley Ajodha and Patti-Anne Ali are the standouts as big-hearted Mr and skeptical Mrs Dindial respectively, and they have some of the best scenes in the film. Other veterans like Eunice Alleyne and Conrad Parris (The Cutlass, Pan! Our Music Odyssey) deliver solid performances as Granny and Marvin the vendor/narrator respectively, the latter’s narration adding to the storybook feel of the affair.
For the newcomers Remy RemBunction (Bazodee) delivers as thoughtful maxi taxi driver Dan. As the eponymous Sally Alyssa Highly is a bit hit or miss and she is not always able to emote as required. And in the first act her sing-song intonation was really grating but thankfully it gets better as the film progresses. And she does have a few moments where her performance shines. She is also helped by the strong supporting cast and a breezy plot.
So if you’re looking for a sweet, hopeful, charming film to enjoy with the whole family, why not take a trip down Sally’s Way?
Rating: 7 out of 10
Julien Neaves is a TARDIS-flying, Force-using Trekkie whose bedroom stories were by Freddy Krueger, learned to be a superhero from Marvel, but dreams of being Batman. Also loves promoting Caribbean film, creating board games and is an aspiring author. Says things like “12 flavours of awesome sauce”. Can also be found talking about TV and movie stuff on Instagram as redmanwriter and on Facebook at Movieville