Regina Hall has been an actress who has been under the radar for years now. Her performances in Girls Trip and Think Like a Man have garnered her acclaim, but Support the Girls showed she had more than just comedic chops. She could be an African-American leading lady in Hollywood, which isn’t that receptive to the prospect.
In Master, Hall plays a professor at Ancaster, a fictitious prestigious New England University. She is one of only two women of color in such positions at the school. They are practicing inclusion by hiring her in this position. Zoe Renee (Jasmine Moore) is an incoming freshman at the school. Both of them are experiencing some difficult times at the school that neither expected. The school has a mystery they didn’t know about before going there.
There have been a lot of films about students and professors at various colleges, real and fictional. This film deals with inclusion by setting it in a world of a mystery thriller. It’s not straightforward what’s going on at this school, but the story makes you believe there is an undertone of racism and mistreatment of these African-American women in the film.
Mariama Diallo is a new director in Hollywood. Her feature debut deals with the very real topic in our society of racism and inclusion. While also mixing in a horror theme that seems a bit shoehorned in. I give her credit, though, for trying something new. It seems to me she has a lot invested in this topic depicted in the film.
The performances from all three ladies — Hall, Moore, and also Amber Grey — focused on in the film are excellent. These three ladies give everything they have to this story. It means a lot to everyone involved in the project, including the director. The writers deserve credit for mixing in topical subjects while also putting in a genre bend that might draw more eyes to it.
The film has a very unbelievable twist. The film hinges on this twist to get the story from point A to Z. It never touches on this until the end of the film when a character reveals information that the film needs to get to this point. It’s just not that plausible. It completely took me out of the film. It’s just not a realistic plot device that I could get behind.
The film deals with very topical subjects that deserve applause. The director, writers, and actors give it their all to try to bring this story with a great message to screens all over. There was just that twist that I couldn’t get behind that threw me out of the film at the end. I wished it had worked better for me.
2 1/2 stars
Dan Skip Allen
Sean Boelman Founder/EIC disappointment media