Violet Jones tired of waiting for her longtime boyfriend to propose, breaks up with him. But old feelings, and heaps of jealousy, no doubt, arise when he promptly begins dating another woman.
Okay, who wrote that summary above? I would not be surprised that it was a man, because, sure, you can say that those things do happen. But this movie is not about Violet falling to pieces over her ex—it’s about her finding out who she really is without all the expectations people like her mother have put on her for her entire life. Violet’s self-worth is wrapped up in being perfect for the right man, the right job, and that is all playing out right on top of her head.
When her perfectly straightened hair gets wet by some turd-y kids with a hose right before her birthday dinner (and potential proposal), Violet runs to the nearest salon (not her usual) and meets a precocious pre-teen and her protective hairdresser father. Her breakup with her boyfriend prompts Violet to reevaluate who and what she is living for, because it certainly isn’t for her.
Sanaa is one of those actresses I’m always having to do a double-take at because she’s pretty in a kind of perfect, forgettable way. I look again and I’m like, oh yeah! She’s that girl from such rom-coms as Love & Basketball, Something New, and Brown Sugar. I don’t think she branches out too much from the role of uptight rom-com woman who needs to let her hair down, but you can’t deny she’s good at it.
I will neither confirm nor deny that part of my reason for watching this had anything to do with Ricky. He’s got a weird half-American, half-British accent in this, and I’m not sure if it’s supposed to be intentional or not (it’s never mentioned specifically). His job is mainly to stand around and look pretty, showing Violet what she’s missed out on. I won’t spoil when, but there’s a shower scene that is S-T-E-A-M-Y and could be worth the price of admission your monthly subscription alone.
Lyriq wasn’t that familiar to me, though IMDB says he’s been in a LOT of things and multiple iterations of the Saw franchise (which I try to forget I’ve ever seen). He plays the single dad hairdresser who has a bit of a chip on his shoulder, but seems to have the massage thing down.
Couch-Sharing Capability: Your Girlfriends
This is definitely a movie to share, especially because as good as it can be most of the time, there were a few weird story-telling beats that confused me (it seemed like certain moments we needed to see were skipped over, leading to confusing motivations for characters) and I needed someone around to discuss them. Luckily I had plenty of people at work who watched it right when I did, so we did had a great watercooler moment by the office microwave. Save yourself the time and invite some friends over for a girls’ night in.
Recommended Level of Inebriation: In Vino Veritas
You may want to grab a glass of wine for the surprisingly emotional moment when Violet drunkenly shaves off her hair. And props to Sanaa because the actress actually shaves off her hair. It’s a liberating moment for the character, and one rooted in pain and frustration. Despite being schwasty, Violet is very deliberate as she stares at herself in the mirror/camera, and you may need a few gulps when things become a bit too real.
Use of Your Streaming Subscription: Good
Summer of Love is apparently what Netflix was calling its revival of the rom-com over the last few months. And even though we’re firmly into Fall’s clutches and there’s more here about self-love than romantic love, I think it’s the perfect accompaniment to this movement.