No Shade (2018) Movie Review By Darrin Gauthier

Director: Clare Anyiam-Osigwe
Writer: Clare Anyiam-Osigwe
Stars: Jade Asha, Lonyo Engele, Shone Romulus

Plot:  Told through the prism of love, relationships, dating and marriage, No Shade provides a raw perspective on the issue of colourism and what happens when looking for love in the right place, goes wrong.

Running Time: 1 Hour 44 Minutes

Why I Watched It: Got the chance to see the film early and after reading the plot I decided to give it a go.

Random Thoughts: No IMDB rating yet as it’s not released yet.

Here’s a film that’s about romance and love but isn’t a romantic comedy and that’s rare nowadays this is pretty much a drama, not overly dark but it doesn’t have the typical Hollywood romantic comedy trappings, which really isn’t a bad thing. Clare Anyiam-Osigwe wrote, directed and acts in the film so yes she’s officially a triple threat.

What I Liked About It: The first thing that struck me is that this film looks good, it’s shot well it’s directed well sometime you go into this smaller films and they look cheap and the film isn’t very polished but No Shade comes off well, give credit to the director.

The thing I liked the most about No Shade is that it’s an adult film about not only love but relationships and it does a good job of staying away from film cliches, sure there’s some but love may be the biggest cliche in the world but this film takes an honest look and serious look at the subject matter, this is not a glossy film this has a real lived in quality to it, the characters are fleshed out and so are their relationships, the part that stands out for me that makes this film different is they show a couple already together, they’re getting married but they love each other, they talk to each other, respect each other and they work out their problems together.  We almost never see this in film, we didn’t get to see them meet cute but we see why they love each other and even though they go through things they do it together like a lot of couples do in real life, the credit here goes to the script as it’s not only well written but seems real, some of these conversations feel lifted from your neighbours, everyone knows a couple like that.

The acting is good across the board, Adele Oni is very good in a very tough role, she goes through a lot and she runs the gambit of emotions but she’s never over the top and she has a real screen presence.   Now this film is mostly people talking, no action scenes, the dialogue for me is one of the stars of the film and the fact that this film has a lot to say about not only love, relationships but also race and that’s a big issue here, the title refers to the shade of people, how light or dark they are and there’s a couple of really good scenes about this.  I’ve talked about the one couple the solid one played by Algie Salmon-Fattahian and Clare Anyiam-Osigwe we also focus on Adele Oni and Kadeem Pearse they’re not a solid couple and in fact not a couple they’re friends of about 10 years and they say they’re like brother and sister but they’re not anywhere close they love each other but the fact that Oni’s character is very dark is a turn off for Pearse’s character Danny, Danny has a type, he likes light skinned girls, during the film he ends up living with his latest girlfriend played by Sharea Samuels, it’s clear they have an attraction for each other but it doesn’t feel or sound like love, Danny is caught between what he’s attracted to and what he connects with.  The scenes that really hit home are really about this, there’s one with Algie Salmon-Fattahian and Kadeem Pearse that breaks down how silly this is and Salmon-Fattahian does a great job in this scene saying what’s really important in life and love and looks and types mean nothing.  The other scene that maybe the best in the film is with Adele Oni and Sharea Samuels, they both realise what Danny is doing and why he’s with one but also why he wants the other the two women do a great job of figuring out stuff that the man they’re talking about never seems to realise or deal with. Samuels is good in this scene, up till that point she felt like a stock character but you really feel for her, both women realise that neither of them should be with Danny.

What I Didn’t Like: There’s not much really I will say there’s a sub-plot with an ex girlfriend of Salmon-Fattahian’s character that doesn’t really work and it gets a little strange but it doesn’t go anywhere.

The beginning felt like we might be getting a cookie cutter look at what it’s like being single and how hard it is to date today we follow Oni’s character through some dates and it got to feel like we were watching little vignettes but once the film focused I saw what they were trying to do.

Final Thoughts: I very much enjoyed the film, it was thoughtful but not heavy handed and it was a very mature look at relationships.  I look forward to seeing another film from Anyiam-Osigwe.

Rating: 8/10

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