MOVIE OF THE WEEK June 16, 2023: PRETTY RED DRESS

Yes, a beautiful, sexy red sequined dress is at the heart of writer-director Dionne Edwards’ South London-set feature debut. But Pretty Red Dress is about much more than an item of clothing, no matter how fabulous it is. It’s the story of a man learning to embrace himself for who he truly is, a woman learning what “unconditional love” really means, and a family learning how to support each other in positive ways.

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PRETTY RED DRESS – Review by Loren King

This original, perceptive debut feature from writer-director Dionne Edwards is about many things: music, sexuality, gender presentation, Dads and daughters and, yes, the titular garment. Natey Jones, in a stunner of a performance, is Travis, a young man freshly released from jail for what seems a minor offense and reunited in working-class London with wife Candice (Alexandra Burke) and their tween daughter Kenisha (Temilola Olatunbosun). Travis is secretly a cross-dresser, and to the credit of the film and to Jones, this is treated neither as a joke nor as a heavy-handed lesson.

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AWFJ Presents WE LOVE MOSES – Review by Jamie Broadnax

In the short film We Love Moses, a 12-year-old’s secret crush on her brother’s best friend is scrutinized. In one moment, her life and his are changed dramatically in one shocking plot twist. The movie explores girlhood, relationships, and sexuality. The prolifically themed coming of age story is written and directed by Dionne Edwards, and the film’s protagonist is Ella, played by actor Danae Jean-Marie. With gorgeous cinematography and brave performances this short film dares to uncover girlhood, repression, femininity, masculinity, secrets and shame. And it unpacks all of that through a young Black female gaze.

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