If Hollywood were an even slightly more level playing field, Omari Hardwick might at least have a shot at the kinds of industry pushes afforded the likes of Liam Hemsworth, Armie Hammer, and countless other yogurt-bland male commodities. Drop-dead handsome, a good actor, and dripping with presence, he's a movie star waiting to happen. He's also the best thing about writer-director Charles Murray's insipid Things Never Said. Kalindra (Shanola Hampton) is an L.A.–based aspiring spoken-word artist. (If that alone is not enough to send you running to the open arms of black Jesus, read on.) Married to an abusive former high-school star basketball player who's now a bitter gas station attendant, she's trying to make her way to a gig at spoken-word mecca, New York’s Nuyorican Café. Fate puts her in the path of Curtis, a sexy, troubled man with a mysterious past and a love of poetry. After some unconvincing resistance, she falls under his sway, and the two illicit lovebirds do their adulterous thing against a backdrop of disapproving relatives, meh spoken-word fare, and the time-bomb of Kalindra's husband. To be fair, the cast is largely good, given the material (though the normally ace Charlayne Woodard is unusually shrill in the role of Kalindra's religious, self-righteous mom). The story never recovers from its first act setup of exposition-heavy dialogue that is not only surprisingly artless for a film centered on poetry but is laden with accusations, recriminations, and thudding bombshells. Clichés abound (sex scenes soundtracked by the music formerly known as neo-soul) as the film works itself toward an ending that doubles as a PSA on domestic violence.
Charles MurrayShanola Hampton, Elimu Nelson, Omari Hardwick, Tamala Jones, Michael Beach, Dorian Missick, Anika C. McFall, Charlayne Woodard, Tom WrightCharles MurrayCharles Murray, Brian "Skinny" LewisOhio Street Pictures