24/04/2018

The Sweetest Mango - A Sour Workplace Romance

Quick Thoughts: The Sweetest Mango (2001)


Made by Howard Allen, this is the Antigua and Barbuda film of the series.


Those of you that have been following the World Cinema Series know that I have a long list of countries, and that we're now all the way down to 'I'. Out of the 79 countries we've tried to tick off, there has so far been only 1 country that I have had to miss. But, today, the record is cleaned up.

The Sweetest Mango is the first, and one of the only, feature-length movies to have come out of Antigua and Barbuda. It follows Lovelyanne, or just Luv, a woman born in Antigua who has been working in Canada for many years. She returns to her home, tired of Canada, with a job waiting for her. At the job, however, she finds herself caught in a love triangle between her boss (who she doesn't really like) and a man she manages. The film spends much of its time from here moving between the conflicts of a workplace romance and the struggles one faces when trying to assimilate back into a culture.

What works in the film is certainly the sense of place and time conjured by the relationship between characters. The world of The Sweetest Mango then doesn't just feel complete, but comfortable and inviting. Following along what is ultimately a rather innocuous and muted story, the distinct tone and atmosphere go a long way. On the more negative side, the dialogue stands out as rather grating, having the characters so often preoccupied with sex and relationships in a rather childish manner. The performances don't mask the faults in the script and nor does the direction - which lacks punch and imagination. Alas, this is technically competent with there only being passing moments in which the sound design falls apart. The biggest technical fault would be the panning. More practice needed there for the cameraman.

Overall, however, The Sweetest Mango is a nice romance. Its role reversals and its commentary on relationships and the workplace aren't brilliant, but the characters and setting make this an ok watch.

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