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Real Talk Turns A Radio Show Into A Riveting Rendezvous With Reality



Real Talk Review: There is  no greater responsibility in this  world than saving lives.

Real Talk

Starring: Jasmine Charmichael; written  and  directed by  Preston A  Whitemore 2

Rating: ** ½

Real Talk Review: There is  no greater responsibility in this  world than saving lives. You could be a doctor, a marriage  counsellor, a  priest…Or, like  the heroine of this  little-known but highly relevant film , a radio-show host. Your job is  to stop  people  from taking  the  wrong turn  in life.

Meet Dominique  ‘The Dame’. A Stanford graduate,her  radio show  Real Talk rules the waves. She  is the  undisputed queen  of all that she  surveys  from   the snazzy booth  of her radio stations where every  night, she is  questioned  on her socio-political ideology and allegiance  to the  black community.

The film, with its sharply-cutting repartees  thrown at  the sexy RJ  by people she  scarcely  knows,is  a treat to hear and watch. When it opens  we see  Dominique  has  serious  problems with her love life as she  heads for the studio.Being a talkathon,  the narrative ensures  it doesn’t end up being  a radio on cinema. The  visual are  imperative to the drama that develops from the  snapchats  that  Dominique has with strangers, semi-strangers and  people whom, we  understand, she has  built a rapport with  over the ….Months? Years?

How  long has  Dominique’s show  being on air? We are  not spoonfed  any back history  to satiate  our curiosity  on the genesis  of the talk show  .All we have is  the now. The immediate  present where  through her interactions  , we get to know a truckload about the opinionated  borderline-arrogant  Dominique  and the  black community which apparently tunes in to her  topical tattle  every  night.

The  radio-listener equation is effectively constructed as  Dominique’s conversations with her listeners  go from the cocky  to the  spiritual.

Everything  changes when, all of a sudden,  a young pregnant  teenager calls in on  Dominque’s show and  threatens  to  commit suicide. Here-on  the narrative  acquires the  hectic hue of a  race-against-time thriller  whereby  the  suicidal girl must be  found before it’s too late. The  way in which the radio community of  listeners: host, priest(Michael  Beach,  known to  Dominique  as  the  priest  of her parish who saw her  navigate through her  tough  childhood and teens) , even the radio-station  owners pitch in to save the suicidal  girl’s  life shows us how the media can be powered  to   make  a  real difference to  people’s lives.

 This little  film with  a  big message doesn’t allow itself to drown in  polemics. The head remains  above the water as  the  volley  of airwave interaction covers a  gamut  of  topical messages.  Not for  a  minute  did I feel I was  watching a  closed-in  film about  a radio-show hostess and her encounter with various  people  , troubled, tormented, amused  or otherwise, just seeking some  fun by calling up a  woman who  wears her power  on  her sleeve.

 I remember Jasmine  Charmichael from   Romeo & Juliet In Harlem in 2017 where  she was part of an all-Black version  of   Shakespeare’s play. In  Real Talk Ms Charmichael is still addressing  issues  pertinent to the  Black community.And that’s fine. At  least she is  not  pretending to be  colour blind , as has become fashionable in American cinema.

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