Jean of the Joneses
Directed by Stella Meghie
Jean Jones, a gawky, 25-year old finds new love unexpectedly in the back of a Brooklyn ambulance with paramedic Ray Malcolm on the day the grandfather she’s never met shows up on her doorstep and drops dead with her book in his pocket. Against the advice of her family, who all seem to be stewing in their own secrets, Jean plans the funeral for Gray Jones and uncovers some tough truths about the Jones women, her failing career and a crippling inability to move on from a past relationship.
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★★★★ review by Marian on Letterboxd
i love women and i want a leopard print coat
★★★½ review by Gazelle Garcia on Letterboxd
Finally a festival film with mostly women of color that isn't about suffering and is written/directed by a women of color! THAT'S A BINGO
One of the main faults is the editing but I'll mention this film finished post production weeks before SXSW. Even so if you mention a dead body coming to life as just a joke please realize the audience will be watching and you should use a take where the actor's breathing isn't so obvious if he's in fact suppose to be and stay dead!!! Beyond all that the family dynamic was excellent and endlessly entertaining. Jean herself was so easy to identify with as a person who doesn't realize her self deprecating attitude is ruining her life but everyone around her does. "You always act like you hate your life." "I do, and what's worse is there are people who hate me more than I do."
★★★½ review by Mr. Fly on Letterboxd
Interesting family dynamics, and a central character who learns and changes from start to finish. It seems simple to say, but it is rare to see such subtle character development.
★★★★ review by Jacob Paul on Letterboxd
Jean of the Joneses opens on a breakup scene: Jean (Taylour Paige) is riffing a breakup speech for her soon-to-be-ex, Jeremiah (François Arnaud), while she walks around his apartment, picking a few things to add to a lone cardboard box. Jeremiah watches without a word, looking neither surprised nor particularly hurt. Jean turns to reassure him, “You don’t have to say anything.” A few sentences later, she adds: “Don’t you think you should say something?”
It’s the kind of distracted-narcissist joke you’d find in a Noah Baumbach movie, and indeed, there’s much Baumbachian about Jean of the Joneses (the director, Stella Meghie, cites Frances Ha as an influence). It fits snugly into the lineage of New York writer comedies as it follows Jean, some time after the publication of her well-received debut novel, doing just about anything but writing. It’s as funny as Baumbach’s best films. But there is one major, welcome difference: nearly all of the screen time goes to actors, and especially women, of color.
Meghie has a background in fashion, and one of the film’s greatest quiet features is Jean’s costuming, which Meghie and Paige created with costume designer Avery Plewes. Jean has a distinct, memorable style, but appropriately for someone living out of her car, she often wears the same pieces in new, ever-more-creative combinations. It’s exactly the kind of detail that shows an audience the vulnerability behind the comic defenses of a character like Jean, and separates good comedies from great ones.
★★★½ review by Mark Diba on Letterboxd
This was a nice little movie. It’s weird—everyone in the Jones family has her own deep issues, but I never felt sad. Instead, I felt like I was wrapped in a fuzzy blanket. You know that everything will work out for the best, because while the Joneses may have strong differing opinions, they also have each other’s backs.
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