A distinctly Caribbean film – Home Again is set to hit movie screens in the Caribbean soon – starting in Trinidad on April 2.
The film deals with something all too familiar to Caribbean people – deportees. The three main characters have one thing in common – their ‘homeland’ of Jamaica which they all left as infants. Fresh Prince of Belair alum Tatyana Ali plays Marva, a young widow from Toronto who ends up separated from her two young children after being tricked by her boyfriend into smuggling illegal goods.
Dunston is an ex-con bad boy put out of the United States who is aiming to lie low in Kingston and then return to the USA, while Everton is a privileged, private-schooled young Brit whose mother never sorted out his citizenship papers. An ‘innocent’ joyride, fuelled by some weed sends him back to a land he never knew.
The film debuted at the prestigious Toronto International Film Festival and received great reviews. Industry bible Variety called it:
“A lively melodrama that seldom pauses to catch its breath as it throws its protags into criminal and bodily peril.”
I must say, from the trailers I’ve seen, the film does look to be powerful and fascinating. After all – and let’s keep it real – I don’t think there is a single islandista who doesn’t know someone living illegally up north. The circumstances are different but the reality is the same – thousands and thousands of Caribbean people stuck in limbo, living just below the surface and trying not to attract too much attention to themselves. And it’s not just the people who don’t have a lot of options who end up as “criminals” as the snooty would-be employer calls Ali’s character when she finds out that she’s been deported. People who have been well-paid professionals in the Caribbean end up stuck in low-wage jobs and in the shadows of the illegal immigrant web – just because they’re taking a chance on a better life.
It is a relentless Caribbean dilemma – one I’ve written about before. I’m interested in seeing how the producers of Home Again deal with it – it should definitely resonate with Caribbean audiences.