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I Will Follow

GO  I WILL FOLLOW As the grieving Maye (Salli Richardson-Whitfield) packs up the house of her late aunt in a single day, she's visited by a dozen different people — movers, family, friends — who trigger tears, comic relief and life-changing realizations. Aptly described by writer-director Ava Duvernay as a "mood piece," this deceptively simple film gracefully cycles through its palette of emotions, doing a lot of its heavy lifting in subtext. Iconic African-American writer Zora Neale Hurston famously wrote, "Black woman is the mule of the world." The deceased aunt was a session musician — mule of the music industry — renowned for her disco work while dreaming of being in a rock band. (The film's title is lifted from U2, the aunt's favorite band.) Her backstory serves subtle commentary on the limits imposed by race and gender, but the woman we see in flashback is someone who never let thwarted dreams lead to a stunted life. The film doesn't hammer that point, but it's a lesson gleaned by Maye, if not the aunt's daughter, Fran (Michole White), whose devastation is intermingled with long-standing anger over abandonment issues. The entire cast is in fine form (Omari Hardwick, as Maye's maybe-suitor, pushes the sexual heat through the roof), but White's blistering performance sears the screen. (Ernest Hardy) (AMC Criterion)

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