Disappearing Acts

Dir: Gina Prince-Blythewood. 2000. Starring: S. Lathan, W. Snipes, J. Amos, Q-tip, R. Hall. English. Romance/Drama.
Disappearing Acts

Valentine's Day is just around the corner and it may very well be a made-up holiday but your loved one probably won't care who made it up as long as they have Valentine status. If you don't have a special someone on the day, who cares? We are celebrating love. Love. Everyone has that - don't let the crappy candy tell you otherwise and if you want to see the softer side of V-Day, I have the perfect choice.

Disappearing Acts is a made for HBO film based on a best selling novel by Terry McMillan. It tells the sexy and heartrending story of Zora and Franklin - a new couple dealing with the beauty and land mines their love encounters. Sanaa Lathan and Wesley Snipes are a gorgeous and skilled duo whose initial chemistry and lust might set your plasma screen on fire. They are hot and then hotter. So much fire and it seems inevitable that someone will get burned, but far from one dimensional these two lovers come complete with personal history that informs without slagging on the pace or script. Their new love is surprising and fun and it is a treat to watch them discover deeper levels of emotional intimacy as they tackle the obstacles between them.

As life and love become more complicated with joyfully clean and discerning writing, the acting by our two leads grows in distinction and subtlety. Lathan and Snipes deliver wonderful performances and I, along with a growing number of the enlightened, are recognizing the immense talent that is Sanaa Lathan. Disappearing Acts is her second lead with director Gina Prince-Blythewood and this collaboration along with Love & Basketball digs deep and comes up with treasures of nuance and power. Snipes, who revealed fabulous dramatic potential with his incredible performance in Waterdance, achieved great but slightly less acclaimed success in action movies. This return to drama feels like he never left. Supporting characters are well acted if slightly underwritten but the time spent with Zora and Franklin feels in no way wasted.

The urban atmosphere provided by brownstones, Brooklyn and a fabulous soundtrack full of slow jams and classic R&B hits creates a stage as seductive and involving as our couple. The director Prince-Blythewood, who seems to be a genius with actors and scripts, also gets creative with eloquent tools of time passage - my favorite being a montage using beautiful black and white photography. It's little touches like this that keep the story flowing fresh on the screen.

It's a small but tremendously truthful film about the pleasure and pitfalls of love and the kind of detail work it takes to build a lasting love on any foundation. Sexy, fun, intimate, empowering, heart wrenching and hopeful, Disappearing Acts is a solid Valentine's Day choice for you or for the one you love. Or you and the one you love together, with candles and stuff.

Posted by:
Jessica Kaman
Feb 4, 2008 3:45pm
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