Every so often, one may come across a fresh take on an already established genre, a story that may take certain tropes and view through a new and interesting lens. Although the idea of a family with super (or strange) abilities is nothing new to the world of film. After all, we’ve seen the concept in Disney/Pixar’s The Incredibles, and both of 20th Century Fox (now 20th Century Studios)’s iterations of Marvel Comics’ first family, The Fantastic Four. However, we have never come across such a family like the one depicted in 2018’s Fast Color, which is a story that involves three generations of super-powered black women in said family, which is a beautiful concept in itself. After watching the film, it’s still puzzles how this one was under my radar for so long.
Now you might ask yourself, what makes this movie different from those others I mentioned? Well, Fast Color is a film that takes the concept of a super-powered family, and grounds it far into reality as it can go.
The plot of the film centers around Ruth (Gugu Mbatha-Raw), a woman on the run whose presence tends to trigger hazardous ground tremors, with no explanation of why. She eventually draws the attention of a scientist whose intentions with her are unclear. After being pursued by the scientist and his team, she eventually comes back to her childhood home to be with her mother, Bo (Lorraine Toussaint), with whom she’s had an estranged relationship. Also living there is Ruth’s own daughter, Lila (Saniyya Sidney), who has been in her grandmother’s care since birth. All three of them are in hiding, while at the same time, trying to heal from their own traumas annnnnnd maybe master their own abilities.
Without giving anymore away, Fast Color is a tale of mystery, sadness, wonder, and hope centered around this quirky family, and how this entire plot binds them back together after being broken for so long. I found Mbatha-Raw’s portrayal of Ruth to be very moving. Every moment of fear, confusion or regret feels so tangible whenever she delivers her dialogue. Toussaint’s Bo, is basically the badass mom that you would want on your side, however, there is a good balance of that and her underlying heart of gold. Sidney’s Lila is curious and a bit of a smartass, which can make for moments that are equal parts interesting and humorous. The film rounds out with solid supporting performances from David Strathairn (Good Night and Good Luck) and Christopher Denham (Argo, Shutter Island).
I must admit, this film truly thinks outside of box a bit, and in a genre full of Marvels, crazed clowns, and super squads, seeing an examination of family and superpowers in this way, was quite refreshing.
**** (out of 4) stars.
(Photo cred: Lionsgate Entertainment)