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Review: 'My Last Day Without You' Is A Refreshing Spin On Love, Attraction & Chance (Now In Theaters)

Reviews
by Kia Barbee
October 5, 2013 5:00 PM
20 Comments
  • |

The film's synopsis reads as follows:

On a one-day business trip to New York, a German business executive falls in love with a singer-songwriter who exposes him to her Brooklyn world and emotions he's never experienced before.

This is a movie that would’ve surely passed me by had I not been an admirer of Nicole Beharie’s acting; but the film is full of delightful surprises.

What you might think will be yet another interracial romantic farce, turns out to be the least of the couple’s barriers. Yes, they have cultural differences, which play out mostly through misunderstood terms. For example, Leticia (Beharie), called “Tisha” throughout, had to explain what “getting with you” meant to Niklas (Duken). There are few moments like this that creep up when you least expect them to, but positively so.

The couple meets so abruptly and no time is wasted honing in on the fact that their sexual attraction is a huge magnet. There are no forced moments of falling in love. It’s mostly Niklas’ goal to make amends that brings out the sincere emotional attraction from them both. This is where the story could go cliché, but continues to linger in a familiar way… how many people fight the instinct towards emotional healing, but brush it off as something else?

In fact the story ends sharply ambiguous. Yes, the right choice is made, but will the couple chance for a lifetime or just an extended moment? We’ll only assume… it’s a timeless chance.

A parallel love subplot between Tisha’s father, Pastor Johnson and his secretary, Luz, further sustains the theme of love that gels. Their interaction is just as fun and intriguing as Niklas and Leticia, but there’s a clear juxtaposition between the cautious younger couple and the mature acceptance of love from the older couple.

The backdrop and driving force of the film involves job loss, but it’s not such a crutch that interferes with the impending outcomes that follow the 24 hour lifespan of its main characters.

The chemistry between the leads (Ken Duken and Nicole Beharie) fit like a glove with an equally deserved mention to Laith Nakli as a hired romantic guru cab driver and declared comic relief.

Reg Cathey, as Nicole’s Pastor dad brought a sentimental touch.

If you live in Brooklyn, particularly south of Washington Avenue, Bushwick or Prospect Heights, you’ll enjoy pinpointing all the recognizable locations.

The music was soulfully inviting and beautifully song by Beharie.

The director, Stefan Schaefer hinted at the possibility of a soundtrack… sign me up!

My only complaint was the useless jealous ex-boyfriend who had no purpose (at least to me) other than to drop off our German friend in the “projects” (mind you Tisha doesn’t live in the projects, but rather a studio loft) to fend for himself. These moments are comic, but not needed as an added blockage to Niklas ultimate decision to stay or go. I’m sure he would’ve run into those same characters (a group of cool African American young children, drug dealing teen, etc) he encountered on his mission to re-locate Tisha after she finds out an unfortunate truth. The Niklas character was so well defined; he didn’t need “extra” blockages. He ultimately was his own obstruction.

All in all, My Last Day Without You falls in line with a new wave of sensible stories with a diverse cast of characters that don’t need to use “race” as the cinematic conflict that binds the story. Niklas could have easily been a “brother”, but making him a German just ups the conflict ante, though it doesn’t sustain it.

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20 Comments

  • J | October 9, 2013 4:44 PMReply

    Rose from Lost? Look at how far you have to go back. White men believe they are entitled to the most attractive black women no matter what they themselves look like. Onthe other hand, when Omar Epps was pair romantically with Olivia Wilde on House, white male fans were outraged. It's called white supremacy and privilege.

  • j | October 8, 2013 6:05 PMReply

    @BURR The real question is are white men to good to be with black women who are not young and hot? Name a show on television, network or cable, where the white guy is in a relationship with an overweight black woman. Doesn't happen. White men are only paired with the most attractive black women. Why? Because being white entitles them.

  • E | June 4, 2014 9:44 PM

    Mercedes Jones and Sam Evans - Glee

  • E | June 4, 2014 9:43 PM

    Mercedes Jones and Sam Evans - Glee

  • Rubb | October 8, 2013 6:36 PM

    Donna on Parks and Recreation gets a lot of play from white guys.

  • Burr | October 8, 2013 6:22 PM

    You mean like Rose from Lost?

  • guest | October 7, 2013 2:02 PMReply

    Every young, ATTRACTIVE black woman on network television has a white lover. Older, less attractive and over weight black women are either single or with black men. It is done to reaffirm the desirability of white men. It has nothing to do with the desirability of black women because white men have ALWAYS had access to black women's bodies.

  • Burr | October 7, 2013 5:24 PM

    Since when do "older" and "overweight" automatically mean unattractive? Guess what Denzel is? Isn't he still attractive? If not, why the hell does he deserve to keep getting paired with hot young things?

    Halle Berry and Angela Bassett are older. Jill Scott is overweight. Are black men (on TV) too good to be with black women who aren't skinny or 20? Why's that?

  • m | October 6, 2013 10:29 PMReply

    There was just a big discussion over at Clutchmagonline over whether black women on network television are allowed to have black love interests. The general consensus was no. There isn't one attractive black woman on network or premium cable who doesn't have a white lover. The last attempt was Undercovers with Boris Kodjoe and that was cancelled after one season. It seems the same rule applies to independent cinema. I really wonder where this is going and whether this is just another case of white supremacy being forced down our throats.

  • Well | October 7, 2013 12:09 AM

    You dumb. White men get everybody not just black chicks. Stay mad.

  • Anaisansi | October 7, 2013 12:05 AM

    As you can see from the last line of this otherwise great written review, Black media celebrates when there is a Black Woman-White Man story because it shows Black women as desirable to someone White. Flip the script make it a brother with a White Woman relationship then this review would end as "so tired of movies having our brothers choosing the White Woman over beautiful sisters". Right now sisters with White Men is the new flavor. Black Women will defend out while lashing out on the opposite. So no protest for White America to feel comfortable.

    Nicole B. caught on the way to make it in the mainstream is to have a White love interest. Don't blame her for following opportunity. White America don't care about Black on Black love. Keep watching Sleepy Hollow for the Black Woman White man relationship you can see a mile away.

  • Nia | October 6, 2013 11:22 PM

    The two black women on Grey's Anatomy and the black lady on Community have black love interests.

  • w | October 6, 2013 11:05 PM

    And what about the attractive black men? Or are you only policing black vagina?

  • Bforreal | October 6, 2013 6:27 PMReply

    I've been waiting to see this. Thanks for the review!

  • Mimi | October 6, 2013 4:22 PMReply

    I went to see this and really enjoyed it. The soundtrack is surprisingly good, especially the title song. Nicole has such a smooth, sultry voice, definitely worth checking out just for that!

    The main storyline was okay, but I really liked seeing the relationship between the daughter and father, as well as how the young kids and the teenage "drug dealer" ( that character really moved me in the short time he was on camera) were depicted. Overall not a great, but a good movie.

  • Phred G | October 5, 2013 9:54 PMReply

    I think starring in SLEEPY HOLLOW is a great move for NicoleB. Being on a 'qwirky' scifi show with good writing and a growing following is good exposure (every WEEK) for her. I notice this is the 2nd recent show having a Brit male paired with a non-white female (ELEMENTARY). Good chemistry in both shows though. MY LAST DAY WITHOUT YOU opening now could only boost her visibility and versatility ("That Sleepy Hollow girl SINGS too!"). I will give it my BoxOfficeBucks (instead of borrowing the dvd from the lib for free later) when it opens here.

  • Anaisansi | October 6, 2013 12:48 PM

    Good career move for hercbut this movie won't even make $2Million. Sleepy Hollow fans ain't going to see this. More a résumé booster.

  • Lyle Gibran | October 5, 2013 9:38 PMReply

    You are so right. I had no intention of watching this title AT ALL. Done deal. Then I see Nicole Beharie. So… okay. You got me. I'd watch out for this one. She's destined for statues.

  • Muse | October 5, 2013 8:28 PMReply

    I think TV is WAY hotter than film right now in terms of compelling storytelling, and I can see why an actor like Beharie would shoot for being the (well-written, multidimensional) star of a hit TV show moreso than a secondary character in a so-so mainstream film.

  • Qstorm | October 5, 2013 6:25 PMReply

    Nicole Beharie is so freakin hot. Her talents are currently being wasted on Sleepy Hollow. She's bigger than TV. She was in 42, for God's sake, maybe not the best movie, but I'm just sayin'...

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