Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
The Complete ‘Extant’ Series w/Halle Berry Coming Out On Blu-Ray DVD in Dec. The Complete ‘Extant’ Series w/Halle Berry Coming Out On Blu-Ray DVD in Dec. 'Terror at the Mall,' Documentary on Siege of Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya, Premieres on HBO Tonight (Trailer) 'Terror at the Mall,' Documentary on Siege of Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya, Premieres on HBO Tonight (Trailer) Weekend B.O. Sept. 12-14 (Will 'No Good Deed's' Success Help Make Taraji P. Henson an A-lister?) Weekend B.O. Sept. 12-14 (Will 'No Good Deed's' Success Help Make Taraji P. Henson an A-lister?) Producer Charles Belk and Actress Daniele Watts Apparently "Fit the Description" (Just Another Day in the Neighborhood) Producer Charles Belk and Actress Daniele Watts Apparently "Fit the Description" (Just Another Day in the Neighborhood) TIFF 2014 Review: 'Top Five' is Chris Rock's Funniest Movie in Years - If Not Ever TIFF 2014 Review: 'Top Five' is Chris Rock's Funniest Movie in Years - If Not Ever What’s the Big Secret That Got Those ‘No Good Deed’ Screenings Canceled? What’s the Big Secret That Got Those ‘No Good Deed’ Screenings Canceled? Taraji P. Henson Executive Produces Indie ‘Seasons of Love’ (Appears Alongside Gladys Knight, LeToya Luckett) Taraji P. Henson Executive Produces Indie ‘Seasons of Love’ (Appears Alongside Gladys Knight, LeToya Luckett) TV: New Corrections Officer for 'Orange, Another ABC Drama for Shonda Rhimes, SNL's 1st Black 'Weekend Update' Anchor TV: New Corrections Officer for 'Orange, Another ABC Drama for Shonda Rhimes, SNL's 1st Black 'Weekend Update' Anchor 'Drumline: A New Beat' (Sequel to the 2002 Film) Gets a Premiere Date + New Trailer (Watch It) 'Drumline: A New Beat' (Sequel to the 2002 Film) Gets a Premiere Date + New Trailer (Watch It) Watch First Episode of ABC's New Series 'Black-ish' Now Watch First Episode of ABC's New Series 'Black-ish' Now Black Kids from Ferguson Speak Out in 'Hey White People' Comedic Video Educating Whites on Racism Black Kids from Ferguson Speak Out in 'Hey White People' Comedic Video Educating Whites on Racism 'Terror at the Mall,' Documentary on Siege of Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya, Coming to HBO (Trailer) 'Terror at the Mall,' Documentary on Siege of Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya, Coming to HBO (Trailer) Woody Allen Says He Won’t Hire a Black Actor Unless the Role Calls for One... Whatever That Means Woody Allen Says He Won’t Hire a Black Actor Unless the Role Calls for One... Whatever That Means Watch First Trailer for Tyler Perry's New OWN TV Drama 'If Loving You Is Wrong' Watch First Trailer for Tyler Perry's New OWN TV Drama 'If Loving You Is Wrong' OWN Announces Cast for New Drama Series 'If Loving You is Wrong' From Tyler Perry OWN Announces Cast for New Drama Series 'If Loving You is Wrong' From Tyler Perry Co-Screenwriter of 'Noah' Explains Why There Are No Black People Or POC In The Film Co-Screenwriter of 'Noah' Explains Why There Are No Black People Or POC In The Film Aaron McGruder Finally Explains Why He Left 'The Boondocks' Aaron McGruder Finally Explains Why He Left 'The Boondocks' Lifetime Launches New Series Set In Elite World Of Hip-Hop Majorette Competitions (Watch Preview) Lifetime Launches New Series Set In Elite World Of Hip-Hop Majorette Competitions (Watch Preview) Netflix Explains Why It Doesn't Always Have That Film Or TV Show You Really Want To See (Video) Netflix Explains Why It Doesn't Always Have That Film Or TV Show You Really Want To See (Video) Tichina Arnold Says She Talked To Martin Lawrence About Doing A 'Martin' Movie... Tichina Arnold Says She Talked To Martin Lawrence About Doing A 'Martin' Movie...

Netflix Picks: 'Black Butterfly' Deals w/ Rape of Aspiring Olympic Swimmer

Shadow and Act By Vanessa Martinez | Shadow and Act May 2, 2013 at 9:43PM

Netflix Picks: 'Black Butterfly' Deals w/ Rape of Aspiring Olympic Swimmer
1
Black Butterfly

Here’s a less than perfect film streaming on Netflix, which we’ve profiled a few times before. Black Butterfly can be appreciated for its efforts to bringing an important story to the screen, one that unfortunately many teens - especially of color - find themselves in.

If only the film’s acting were more even; the narrative more focused and its delivery less heavy-handed. Yet, it is still recommend viewing. Helmed by Mark Harris, Black Butterfly stars newcomer Mahogany Monae, whom by the way I couldn’t find any further info on, not even an imdb page.

Monae plays Ariel, a charismatic high school student who aspires to be a professional swimmer, with dreams of participating in the 2012 Olympics. A circle of supportive love ones surrounds her: loving, mid-to-upper class parents, a loyal boyfriend and a caring, mentoring swimming coach.

The film does a good job engaging you by setting up a believable situation in which a young woman’s world can be turn upside down by an awful and unprecedented rape. It’s not common to see a rape depiction and treatment in film, especially of a young woman of color, that didn’t seem exploitative or unnecessary. Yet this small-scale production packs a punch to the gut with such depiction, thanks greatly to the performance by Monae.

Without giving much away, Ariel is raped by an acquaintance, (one of her father’s police work force partners) which is the most common type of rape statistically. Afterwards, Ariel struggles with feelings of shame, secrecy and grief, which are quite stirring to watch. If it weren’t for the nuanced quality of her performance, the film wouldn’t have worked as a whole. I also appreciated the depiction of Ariel’s mentally disabled brother and how her family dealt with him.

There were certain elements of the film that were revealing and enlightening, primarily because they aren’t common in film. Historically, black women’s reality as disproportionately being victims of rape has been overlooked. There seems to be a misconception that black women aren’t being raped as much as it really happens, and there also seems to be a stigma of those women who “cry rape” that prompt many to immediately question and/or doubt many victims. It’s a complex issue; feel free to shed light in the comment section.

As I said previously, it’s not a perfect film, and certainly not technically masterful. Some of the scenes have a rehearsal/acting workshop quality to them and some may be just a tad over the top, especially toward the climactic end, but the message in Black Butterfly resonates, and it is one that is rarely explored realistically in films for and by people of color.

This article is related to: Reviews, NetFlix


Shadow & ActNewsletter