When we see trailers or coming attractions, we sometimes create our own stories in our minds—which is what art allows. But heading into the premiere for Hallmark Mahogany’s first feature, Unthinkably Good Things, I wanted to be completely open to the storyline. For this movie, I came without expectation and a ton of backstory. I’m so glad I did. Trust and believe, this movie is so much more than just another rom-com.
Unthinkably Good Things centers around three girlfriends in what I like to call the “chapter 2” of their lives, being over 30. Allison (Karen Pittman) is divorced and looking for tenure at an HBCU; Melina (Joyful Drake), having beat cancer, is trying to keep her restaurant afloat; and Reesa (Erica Ash) is dealing with fertility obstacles and where to place her energy after retirement from the military. As Melina and Reesa meet up with Allison in Italy and the story begins to unfold, I started to see myself and my own story more and more on screen. And like any movie that speaks to us in ways that are truly special, Unthinkably Good Things showed me many moments that reminded me of not only myself but people I know.
The movie is set in Italy which immediately sparked my interest because I am an avid world traveler. I love that the film took the audience out of our comfort zones, the neighborhoods—and the country—we know and are familiar with, to fully immerse us in each character’s experiences as well as an entirely different culture. As a Black expat who’s lived abroad for the past seven years, I was drawn in. I wanted to see where the movie was going to take the characters. And of course, as a Black woman, I was met with themes and scenarios that fully resonated with me specifically. It was so refreshing to watch as the movie intertwined the familiar elements of our culture with a new culture and place that we had yet to feast our eyes on, on screen.
I noticed a lot of similarities between the character, Allison, and myself, which called for a combination of smiles, laughs, and a few crying moments. (There were definitely tissues on deck.) When Allison goes to Italy, she’s in the midst of looking for a tenure position as a professor; she’s also looking at where her career can go with all of the work it took to build herself up. I found myself leaving the United States at the height of my professional career to move abroad and teach English literature at an international high school. In addition, Allison’s navigating whether to stay, go, and/or keep her Italian love interest. While I met my husband 7 months into my move abroad.
Black women have had many narratives told for us and by us, but Unthinkably Good Things captured a special place in my heart by taking on this specific nuance of being abroad. I remember thinking, in the midst of watching, that I was having a Roberta-Flack experience because they were certainly killing me softly and singing my life with this storyline. It sent me on an emotional rollercoaster with a narrative that other movies had yet to tell.
Unthinkably Good Things found a way to talk about the challenges Black women face in love, life, and career, without it being a struggle movie. I found the utmost joy in seeing how these women came together, had their mess, but still persevered conveying their respective messages of triumph and victory. If you watched last night, then you know what I’m talking about. If you didn’t, I hope you can catch a rebroadcast because Hallmark Mahogany did that! And missing out on this debut that lets us see ourselves in a way that not only feels good but is good—now that would be unthinkable.
If you saw the premiere last night, are you an Allison, a Melina, or a Reesa?Leave a Comment