Negro Noir: A Fall From Grace and the Curious Case of Wigs, (Diner) Wine and Wayward Filmmaking

A Fall From Grace (2020)
A Fall From Grace (2020)
Photo: Courtesy of Netflix
Negro NoirNegro NoirMovies that are “so bad, they’re good” are one of life’s unsung treasures. And like anything, adding Blackness to that principle is like adding proper seasoning. Negro Noir is our series reviewing/recapping bad Black movies. It’s so Black, the title of the series is “Black black” in two different languages. I watch so you don’t have to. But you should.

Movies that are “so bad, they’re good” are one of life’s unsung treasures. And like anything, adding blackness to that principle is like adding proper seasoning. Thus, I introduce you to our new series reviewing/recapping bad black movies, Negro Noir. As our queen-in-chief Danielle Belton pointed out, it’s so black, the title of the series is essentially “black black” in two different languages. I watch these so you don’t have to. But you should.

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Y’all. I’ve fallen, and I can’t get up.

A Fall From Grace falls into so many hilariously-placed plot holes, it can’t ever be rescued. And if you’re willingly watching Tyler Perry content, do you even want to be rescued? According to People, the feature film was shot in five days. Of course, this isn’t surprising, given Perry’s propensity to brag about the fact that he is a walking writing machine.

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But, let’s get to the meat and potatoes of this film, which, here’s your spoiler alert: I can’t do a proper Negro Noir review without spoiling it! And I did say I watch these so you don’t have to (get lit and watch with your hoodrat friends, though).

Netflix breaks it down for us in its press release:

Grace Waters (Crystal Fox), a longtime pillar of her Virginia community, stays composed when her ex weds his mistress and her son moves away. With convincing from her best friend Sarah (Phylicia Rashad), she tries putting herself first, and a handsome stranger (Mehcad Brooks) becomes her surprise second love. Yet any woman can snap, and Grace’s new husband soon ravages her life, her work and—many say—her sanity. Shuttered in a cell awaiting trial for his murder, Grace’s only hope for vindication lies with Jasmine Bryant (Bresha Webb), a public defender who has never tried a case.

Since the jack (and sometimes Jill, if you count Madea) of all trades cannot rest unless his title is a play on words, Grace is clearly the titular character who will ultimately fall from herself—from who she truly is…because of a damn man! A damn man who proposed to her in a romantic field of CGI fireflies, but I digress! So, let’s keep that same energy and lean right into the title puns, even in this very review!

A Fall From Hair Departments

Ever since the trailer was released, I couldn’t take my eyes off of Brooks’ wig. Once, I saw the film, I also suspected Brooks shared a wig with Matthew Law (who portrays Jasmine’s husband, a cop and Perry’s requisite light bright). It was then I realized the true secret to Perry’s wealth: not his “work ethic,” but saving funds on proper wigs. I specifically went to IMDb to inevitably find Perry’s name listed under the hair department, but alas, I counted no less than 12 actual crew members.

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A Fall From Continuity

Speaking of wigs, I should also look to see if Perry was his own script coordinator because the continuity of one particular scene was so nonexistent, everyone immediately noticed.

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Also, shoutout to the superb acting skills of the background actor in the diner scene (where Shannon and Grace were enjoying wine at the diner???) who dedicated every bit of his effort to making the audience believe that the air water and food he was consuming was actually fulfilling.

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Perhaps this is why Perry was like, “fuck a shallow depth of field.” So, we could see this standout performance in its full glory.

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Goofs happen all the time in filmmaking (there is a whole IMDb section for them), but Perry’s deserve their own special award.

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 A Fall From Perry’s Predictable Downtrodden Black Woman Trope

Sike! It’s the same old story: A black woman finds love, everything is seemingly perfect, then shit goes way left. In fact, Perry firmly stands in his favorite trope truth by filming a scene where Grace not only finds her young new husband Shannon in her bed with another woman, she is subsequently kicked out and the two fornicators continue to fuck as if nothing happened. That didn’t kill the mood?!?

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During the wine-and-dine scene, Shannon uplifts Grace, acknowledging she is likely asking “Why me?” when she should be asking, “Why not me?” (which I could relate to when reflecting on why I considered watching these bad black movies for y’all). Despite a valiant effort to empower older black women and ensure that they, too, are worthy of love, the whole relationship ends up being a whole scam. But don’t fret; the true badass does end up being an older black woman because...

A Fall From Effective Plot Twists

Perry swore up and down that the twist wasn’t predictable, specifically calling out critics who panned his films for their predictability.

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Narrator: Turns out, the twist was the very prototype for predictability. I initially thought Sarah was a diversionary tactic when, in fact, she was actually the villain. A villain who loves to prey on old women and take their fortunes? So she lends the help of Shannon—who we find out is her son, though when first revealed, I thought he was her man. Sure.

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The film begins with an old white woman jumping (or falling?!?) to her death, which isn’t mentioned as anything of significance until, at the very end, we find out she was jumping from Sarah’s house. Okay, but why didn’t Lightskinned Cop recognize Sarah during the inevitable investigation and—WHY AM I EXPECTING LOGIC LIKE I’M NEW HERE?!

Overall, I was left sitting on my couch like:

A Fall From Grace (2020)
A Fall From Grace (2020)
Photo: Courtesy of Netflix
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Oh, and by the way, the best part of this entire film involves two words: Ashtray, bitch!

A Fall From Grace is currently available on Netflix.

Staff Writer, Entertainment at The Root. Sugar, spice & everything rice. Equipped with the uncanny ability to make a Disney reference and a double entendre in the same sentence.

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DISCUSSION

tonjareneestidhum
Tonja Renée Stidhum

ALSO FORGOT TO MENTION THAT RIDICULOUS COURT SCENE WHERE SHE TRIED TO CALL A WITNESS AFTER THE DEFENSE RESTED BUT THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS IN MOVIE WHERE THERE ARE TOO MANY RIDICULOUS THINGS TO ITEMIZE.