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The Forty-Year-Old Version

Radha Blank wrote, directed, and stars in a film about a 40-year-old woman who was once on a list of “30 playwrights under 30 to watch” and is now teaching acting in a high school. She decides to reinvent herself as a rapper who creates songs about women who are entering their 40’s. This is a really wonderful film. It is shot in black and white, which seems fitting for the material. Blank captures the scenes and eclectic people from her neighborhood in New York City; some of those encounters are as hilarious as they are insightful into city life. While she is poking fun at herself, she also tells a very smart story about a Black woman who feels forced to adjust her storytelling to match what White audiences want to hear and can tolerate. Radha Blank is witty, has a keen and perceptive vision of her city and her art, and shows us her path to self-discovery of life after 40. Big thumbs up from me. (2020; 4 Stars)

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