What is love to you? Is it the perfectly crafted fairytale you believed once upon a time? Is love still valuable when it’s falling apart, fading away or shifting into something unexpected? Filmmaker Nefertite Nguvu poetically pulls back the lens of love with her intentionally crafted and thought-provoking film In The Morning. In The Morning marks the narrative of 9 bold, stylish and complex black characters whose love lives are in transition. Stringed together by vignettes, the film becomes an ode and vulnerable peek into the honest landscape of romance for 20 and 30-something year olds. At the root, the theme of evolution is embedded in each timeline.
Sometimes love requires you to know yourself without things.
Brooklyn serves as a cozy backdrop to this tale as we first meet the characters at a brunch gathering for Harper. Harper, who was married but now is divorced, is leaving town to head to Brazil. As any group of friends do, the bunch dive into a deep debate. In this case, it’s all about love. As Harper puts it, “Marriage was a box. I'm 10,000 circles.” Her friends ask her if she’s sure she wants to leave to go to Brazil. In their eyes, she’s running away. In her reality, even if her footsteps mirror a sprint, she’s giving herself the opportunity to start anew. At its underbelly, we are witnessing an evolution getting ready to actualize. Therefore, being alone is not the end of the world, but the start of one. It’s what Harper is choosing to do to ultimately level up.
Sometimes love will require you to recognize what your values are.
Paralleling Harper’s brunch, we meet Malik and Cadence who are gathering for their own meeting. A final curtain call. To officially end their relationship. Here’s the thing with love. Love will place you at a crossroads where idealism and reality either comes together or comes undone. In this case, Cadence and Malik cannot continue on because their love wasn’t built on a honest platform. Malik is married. As Cadence puts it, “I'm always someone's experience until they settle for someone predictable or can be controlled.” Nguvu’s approach to this love triangle is carefully woven as to delineate the humanity of Malik, Cadence and Malik’s wife Amara, who’s aware of the affair. Both Cadence and Malik must sort through their untidy bind to figure out where their values lie.
Sometimes love is uncomfortable and uncertain - and in that there’s potential for beauty.
With the film taking place over a span of 24 hours, the title In The Morning is metaphor for what happens when we are turning to the next chapter of our story. In its brilliance, the storylines are emotionally rich and drenched with depth, as we meet the characters each at the precipice of change. With a level of poetic soberness and cinematic movement, this film leans into the most profound moments of love and lost. We are reminded that in spite of and because of the promise of change, our understanding of love continually expands. This isn’t a good thing or a bad thing. It’s a life thing. In the midst of those inevitable shifts, both planned and unplanned, there’s immense hope and beauty in that await in the morning. To get a taste of this incredible production, you can watch the film on Amazon, as well as Vimeo.