I Will Follow: A Modestly Framed Portrait of Grief
Its elegantly simple structure filled in with startling, understated force, I Will Follow is a modestly framed portrait of grief in its first season. Maye (Salli Richardson-Whitfield) has just lost her favorite aunt, Amanda (Beverly Todd), after nursing her through a year-long illness in Californias Topanga Canyon. Tasked with clearing the house that they shared of Amandas belongings, Maye spends the 24 hours that the film comprises dealing with the peoplemovers, relatives, neighbors, colleagues, old boyfriends, cable girls, and Goodwill jokerswho come and go. Mayes sorrow colors each of these interactionsincluding flashbacks bathed in a lemony lightin a different way, freighting them with character and history while remaining firmly in the moment. A successful make-up artist, Maye bonded with her aunt, a renowned session musician who lived a full yet hidden life, in a way that Amandas own daughter, Fran (Michole Briana White), never could. Memories are dusted off with the boxes and old conflicts are shifted free with the furniture. Writer-director Ava DuVernay has a light, genuine touch, and it inflects everything from Mayes Nas-vs.-Jay-Z debate with her nephew (Dijon Talton) to the high-noon face-off between cousins mourning not just the dead but the years they lost to mutual resentment.
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