I Will Follow written and directed by Ava Du Vernay allows me to place my professorial hat on in creating an analysis. The title is an allusion to a song written and performed by Bono and U2 on their first album. The song itself is significant because of why it was written and the relevance remains strong for any person who has dealt with loss. I could easily continue to break the film down into a technical analysis and remain literary, but to do so would be a disservice to what I consider a work of patient art.
Art typically creates a question that is rarely answered. Art generally creates a discourse that is left to interpretation especially in regard to movies. Too often a film that is attempting a minimalistic approach lacks depth and relies to heavily on emotional melodrama driven by the expected. In other words, most directors and writers overemphasize the pain in order to push the viewer into feeling. I Will Follow builds, like the song, on layers of love, life, loss, and the latent tendency of people to ponder destiny when dealing with the repercussions of death.
The casting of the film is flawless and Salli Richardson-Whitfield uses an understated meloncholy approach in shaping her character’s response to the awkward moments of dealing with family. Her character, Maye, has taken on the daunting task of caring for her aunt, Amanda played by Beverly Todd. The film takes place over the course of 24 hours, but uses flashbacks to give a foundation to the events that have taken place over the course of a year, and in some instances over the course of a lifetime. While the film is about Amanda’s illness and Maye’s adjustment, at the core of the film is Maye’s escape.
Maye has to work through 24 hours of fear, frustration and fascination. What is it about the packing away of things that forces people to face their own mortality? What is in those moments of confrontation that makes a person feel more alive? When is fascination and attraction appropriate? The film utilizes characters in brief insertions, almost intrusions into Maye’s world post Amanda. In this film there is probably one of the best scenes in film in regard to attraction. What I Will Follow does so well with the moments between Omari Hardwick’s character Troy and Maye is unlike any film I’ve seen… and there in lies the beauty of I Will Follow. What is expected, is not what happens. In a very short amount of time, a lifetime is captured and presented and the viewer wants to know Maye. You will want to know Maye.
I Will Follow is worth your time. Visit the site here.