19th November 2020

Bad Hair Review: It Is New ‘Weave’ Cinema

Bad Hair(Hulu)

Starring Elle Lorraine, Jay Pharoah, Lena Waithe, Kelly Rowland, Laverne Cox, Chanté Adams, James Van DerBeek, Usher Raymond IV, Blair Underwood, and Vanessa Williams.

Directed  by  Justin Simien

Rating: * ½

Okay, I  know  this  film has been appreciated  by a  lot of critics.And  to be honest , I  do sense there is a  deep dark devilish message in the  battle that ensues between  the film’s young  adrift heroine Anna(Elle Lorraine)  and….  her new hair weave!!

 Yes, you  heard right!  The  entire focus of  the satirical horror quirky-kinky  tale is on  Anna’s new hair weave that she’s forced to get  for herself after her new slinky boss at her workplace advises  the frumpy but talented  nondescript  mousy  Anna to  change her hair.Anna  enters  a supernatural salon run by  a  lady whom I’d never trust with my  hair(whatever is left  of it) .

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  Anna’s life is never the same  again as her new hairstyle  acquires a  life of its own. And  not a very likeable life. Bad hair is  a  film that tries to be  funny and scary.I found it to be  neither. Just sad. And sad not entirely in a wrong way. The heroine’s desolation reminded me of KalkiKoechlin  in  Anurag Kashyap’s The Girl In Yellow Boots…Don’t know why. The two women are worlds apart and yet joined at the hip by their desolation and restlessness.

 I wish director Justin Simien had explored suburban loneliness with more  seriousness rather than taken  us through a fitful journey of frights and folklore. There is  way too much ambition at work in the plot and too little  imagination  in  the execution. The scenes  of  the hair doing its own  weave are   hardly  hair-raising .The  SFX  are  so  clumsily done they made me  cringe.

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What I liked was the idea of  not tampering with  your  normal  hair just to look more mainstream.Somewhere deep in the tangles  of  the hair-weave  this  film is  about Black  cultural pride. But to get there we  need  to wade  through reams of  plodding plot propulsion.And not of  particularly enlightening  kind.

Commendable for its quirky idea, Bad Hair finally seems like  a bad idea all wrapped  up in a sense  of  misplaced self-importance .

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