Nappily Ever After Is a Good Self-Discovery Film More Than It Is a Film About Hair
NAPPILY EVER AFTER…. based on Trisha R. Thomas’ novel of the same name and helmed by Saudi feminist auteur Haifaa al-Mansour, the film stars Sanaa Lathan (always perfect) as uptight ad executive Violet Jones.
To begin, the Netflix film is well worth the ninety-eight minutes it takes to watch it.
Predictable…. fluffy, feel good, jeans and a t-shirt on a good day type of movie. Violet, a Black woman who is consumed by the idea of being perfect; and believing that her self-worth is rooted in her straight hair. A negative self-image instilled in her by her mom (Lynn Whitfield) from a very young age.
Fast forward to the meat of the film…. Violet has a bad hair day, can’t find her regular stylist then goes to a salon suggested by one of her friend’s. While there, she meets Zoe, a self-aware bold ten-year old Black girl who wears her hair natural, being raised by her beauty salon owner dad. The two initially mix like oil and water. So Zoe decides to give the stylist hair lye instead of conditioner to put on Violet’s hair. Of course, her hair falls out and Zoe’s dad (Lyriq Bent) (the shop owner) apologizes and replaces Violet’s hair with the best weave money can buy.
Once we’re introduced to the main characters, we witness Violet go through a mini emotional break-down after she and her doctor boyfriend decide to break-up because he doesn’t want to marry her. Violet goes through the motions of clubbing, drinking and hanging out with her friends who pacifier her through the break-up and her self-imagine insecurities.
After one night of almost having sex with some random white guy from the club, she succumbs to the power of the alcohol mixed with ranging emotions to the point of shaving off her bleached blonde hair. She awakes in the morning to a completely bald head… A REAL REALITY!!
Violet soon realizes the freedom and independence she feels from not having to worry about her hair. Reactions from friends and coworkers range from concern to contempt to outright condemnation. In a state of self-discovered value, Violet, with much determination finally understands true happiness comes from within and not based on her outer appearance. She begins to live life (bald head and all) on her own terms. A stylish, cute film with a message Black women have been knowing all their lives…. We are not our hair! We are what and who we think we are with the outer appearance being icing on a well done brilliantly made cake.
Cast includes: Sanaa Lathan, Lyriq Bent, Daria Johns, Lynn Whitfield, Ricky Whittle, Ernie Hudson
Director: Haifaa Al-Mansour
NAPPILY EVER AFTER streaming now on Netflix.