Julien Neaves, Caribbean Head Writer
Plot: When the titular middle-aged seamstress and caregiver in a rural Barbadian receives a barrel from London for her young charge its contents will change their relationship forever.
Review: The phenomenon of “barrel children” is well known to those from the Caribbean or those familiar for the region. For this unfamiliar with the term, it refers to children whose parents have migrated (usually to the US, Canada or England) and who would send home barrels with items for them. And it is one such barrel which is the catalyst for 2013 Barbadian drama short Auntie.
When we meet Auntie (Marcia Burrowes) and Kera (Ché-Annika Mayers) they have a loving relationship. And Auntie has grown her up to be a God-fearing, well behaved child. But Auntie is not her mother (they are not even related) and Kera yearns to be reunited with her mom. So when the above-mentioned barrel arrives without a promised ticket to join her mother her hopes and dreams come crashing down. Kudos to the two actresses as they feel like a believable family unit and there is a genuine connection there, which makes it all the more bittersweet when said connection is broken.
Now these types of stories are not exactly novel and have often been explored in Caribbean literature. But writer/director Lisa Harewood makes her story stand out by changing the circumstances and making the tale less formulaic. And by doing so evolves the story beyond the rumination on the effects of migration to an exploration of human connection and the strength of that pull. Auntie is a decent slice-of-life tale that does not revolutionise its content but does just enough to make stand out from the crowd.
Editor Jules’s Score: 6 out of 10
You can check out Auntie for yourself on Studio Anansi by clicking here. And you can check out more Caribbean film content below:
Julien “Editor Jules” 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. I love promoting Caribbean film (Cariwood), creating board games and I am an aspiring author. I say things like “12 flavours of awesome sauce”. Read more.