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Miss Juneteenth ★★★½ AND The Short History of the Long Road ★★★

By June 26, 2020June 28th, 2020Backstage Pass

Hello Summer! I have two film reviews, first up, “Miss Juneteenth,” it’s centered on the ‘Miss Juneteenth’ pageant in Fort Worth, Texas. Writer-director Channing Godfrey Peoples grew up in Texas, where teenagers compete for the crown of Miss Juneteenth. The beauty pageant winners are offered scholarships to historic black universities, in commemoration of the slaves in Texas being freed two years after the Emancipation Proclamation.

Life for Turquoise Jones, played by Nicole Beharie, is challenging and hard; you see, she didn’t have a chance to use her scholarship. As a single mom, she holds down a job of managing a bar and BBQ joint just trying to make ends meet. Her daughter Kai is rebellious, wanting to live her own life; she often defies her mom. 

The Bottom-Line: I’m in 3 1/2 stars out of 4, director Channing Godfrey Peoples draws us into Texas charm, and the hard life of a single mom raising a daughter on her own. This heartwarming story has wonderful, outstanding performances and lessons for all. I didn’t want the movie to end, that’s how much the film invests in its mother-daughter character portrayal. 

Next up: “The Long History of the Short Road” is the story of a teenage girl played by Sabrina Carpenterand her dad played by Steven Ogg. They live a rambling existence traveling in a vintage RV through Southwest America, when he suddenly dies, she’s left to fend for herself.

You may know of Sabrina Carpenter as she’s a Disney Channel star and pop singer, here she gives a contemplative and soulful performance. Similar in tone yet not as harsh as “Leave No Trace,” ‘Long Road’s’ Father-Daughter relationship based on backroads survival is a sweet story.
There are offers no judgments passed or easy ways out. This is a story of using your prior life experiences to get from point A to point B.

The Bottom-Line: I’m in 3 stars out of 4. The film starts as a gentle father-daughter story and shifts gears towards a painful coming-of-age tale. Sabrina Carpenter carries the film superbly as she navigates her new life without her parents.

Sarah Knight Adamson© Jume 28, 2020