Movie Review: Filly Brown
Prinz Lee wrote this review 3 years and 7 months ago
Chicago native Gina Rodriguez goes far-and-beyond than “simply” spitting tight, tough lyrics in this grungy, gritty, dark, hip-hop tale of struggle and triumph!
Majo Tonorio (Gina Rodriguez), a.k.a. “Filly Brown,” is an edgy, rugged, young LA-based hip-hop artist who rhymes from the heart. With a locked up mom (Jenni Rivera), and a father (Lou Diamond Phillips) struggling to provide for his daughters, a record deal could be a blessing, providing the family a way out of day-to-day dilemmas. But when a sketchy record producer (a clean shaven, Kangol cap wearing Noel Gugliemi) offers Majo a chance at stardom, she’s abruptly confronting harsh choices. As consequences would have it with anything risky, the appealing record deal may help Majo reunite her family, but much of it can come at the cost of losing her true voice and/or identity as an artist and the friends who helped her reach success.
Off the bat, “Filly Brown” is more than just a film about an artist. It’s a film about a binding soul who goes to great lengths to keep her loved ones together.
Gina Rodriguez lays a mark in this film beyond what most would expect. Not necessarily a “newcomer” to Hollywood, her aura, swag, style, appeal, and attitude will sweep all senses seeing as she carries the feature quite well from start to finish.
Sharing challenging scenes alongside veterans Edward James Olmos and Lou Diamond Phillips (awesome reunion post “Stand And Deliver”), Gina’s talents are tested in many ways, and the woman stands up for herself allowing the craft of acting, alongside a harsh script dig itself within your mind, body, and soul.
While I’m on the topic of performances, Jenni Rivera also lends herself to help carry the film. Playing Majo’s mom, sporadic scenes entailing prison visits, the arc within Rivera’s character comes off well, strong, and emotionally heavy. Saddened by her sudden death late in 2012, fans of the Mexican/American star will undoubtedly soak in this well-respected individual in yet another unforgettable performance.
Written and Co-directed by Youssef Delara, its firm grip on LA-based lifestyle and jargon allows those outside of the environment a chance to endure the way of everyday life. Considering La-La –Land portrays a world of glitz-and-glamour, there’s a lifestyle (common to most urbanized areas) that isn’t all about palm trees, peace, and tranquility. Latin to the core, the style and vibes are as realistic as can be. However, like most Latin-based films, as always, my bone-picking stems from broken, accented Spanish, but for what it’s worth it flares well – I’ll live!
With a handful of consistency issues and plot points that seem familiar, will this appeal to the masses? Who knows? But at the core of this film, the struggles that are played out seem to be its magic, in terms of what many struggling families endure, and running parallel with fighting for what most want and love!
Never outdoing itself, “Filly Brown” is a film that sizzles with various spices of Latin talent from starring roles to supporters. With the exception of a few characters I felt didn’t belong, this edgy tale serves its purpose, deserves a watch, and most importantly...deserves respect!
That said, from east to west: We (NYC) have “Notorious,” Detroit has “8 Mile,” Corpus Christi has “Selena,” and now LA has “Filly Brown.”