'The Forty-Year-Old Version' Review: Radha Blank's dilemma between rapping and broadway is raw and relatable
'The Forty-Year-Old Version' is all set to hit your screens on October 9, 2020, on Netflix. Radha Blank, who plays the character of a woman who is confused in choosing the direction of her career and often dwells in the idea of, 'this age is right to choose this'?
The film is a wry love letter to New York, a beautiful tale about a 40-year old woman, who is a screenwriter but is going through a creative blockage, as she is stuck in a college where she teaches screenplay to college kids. Radha is seen "pushing the boundaries" for herself when society expects her to stick to the norms. But Archer (Peter Y. Kim), her gay best friend sticks to her always. At a fancy theater party, Archie finagles a chat between Radha and an influential producer named Josh Whitman (Reed Birney), who has read Radha’s new play, 'Harlem Ave' and has some notes. “It rang a little inauthentic,” he tells her breezily. “I ask myself, did a Black person really write this?”
Trying to maintain her self-esteem in the face of snarky students from her classes, memories of her late, loved mother and a New York arts community steeped in the lethal good intentions of White liberals, Radha eventually decides that the key to self-preservation is revamping herself as a rapper. The film diffuses an artistic crisis with the midlife crisis. The film also narrates a "confused" infatuation, when Radha starts getting attracted to 26-year-old rapper D. D plays a very important part in Radha's life, as he is the only one who keeps on motivating her to take the big step, but things go bad when Radha smokes up marij**na before her performance and makes a fool of herself. Scared and worried Radha, decides to stop rapping and goes back to her screenplay writing, she even stops replying to D's texts. Towards the end of the movie, Radha comes out as a strong woman who is not shy from the world, as she raps in front of everyone during the last scene, at a party organized for her successful screenplay, which she doesn't like after Whitman asks her to add controversial/black women angle to the play.
'The Forty-Year-Old Version' will surely steal your heart with Radha's stellar performance and authenticity. The film will surely open all the doors of emotions, as it portrays her relationship with her dead mother, her best friend, Archer, with D and with some of her college students, who praise her for her work. Even though the film essays a strong story of a woman, on a journey to change everything around her, it might fail to get people stuck to the chair, given the fact that the black and white film is slightly over 2 hours long. The film has used a "photo" concept where different pictures, right from Radha artist mother's younger self to Radha's own childhood, keep on coming on the screen. And, with that intimacy come moments of painful realness!