If Not Now, When? is the 2019 drama film centered around four black women who each face unique struggles surrounding love, marriage, and home lives. The film debuted to a warm reception on the 20th of October at the 2019 LA Femme Film Festival.
The cast and crew. The film was written and directed by Tamara Bass and co-directed by Meagan Good. Friends since high school, the two were excited to do a film together. The black female leads, Tamara Bass, Meagan Holder, Mekia Cox, and Meagan Good, each give performances that portray life's difficult issues. Luckily, friendship is the string that ties it all together in the end. With music by James Perry and cinematography by Craig Dean Devine, the film had a large group of people on it who really cared about the material and wanted to make a great film.
The budget.This film was a low budget film made by people who care about telling a story. The love was there but the low budget made the film look irredeemably amateur. Many scenes were shot on undecorated white walls with no decoration. The color grading choices were often noticeably off. The child actors were not able to give enough strength in their opening scene performances to pull a viewer in from the start.
Representation. It is great to see a cast full of black women who aren't shown in a stereotypical light. Hollywood has been moving further away from this since the 90s’ black television renaissance but it has still an uphill battle. My one gripe is with their stories all being linked to love and marriage, none of the characters have a story that isn’t linked to men. This isn’t inherently bad. Not every film is a feminist masterpiece. I can't help but want more for the sisters on-screen and for who I want to see myself reflected. However, I want to commend this film for the representation behind the camera too! Black women want to write and direct, but the representation simply isn’t there. This film sought to remedy that. According to a study of the Top 100 films of 2018, only 16 of those directors were Black (Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film). Of those 16, 15 were male and only 1 was female. Hollywood is still growing and changing and I commend this film for being a part of bringing out Black talent.
If Not Now, When? is a film that tackles important subject matter and has heart, but the delivery is something to be desired.