Director: Jeremy Lee

Writer/Producer: Roger Chaney

Starring: Nathaniel Richardson, Tahj Vaughans, Taylor D. Latham, Alesia N. Hicks, Chelsie Jamila, Brittney S, Clark, Jamorris Calhoun

Synopsis: Three brothers that haven’t been close for 15 years reunite on their oldest brother Drew’s wedding. Before the wedding day Drew finds out a secret that could jeopardize his entire wedding day.

My review:

Before I get into the review proper, I have a quick story to tell.

Because I was so busy writing my book, The Book of Awesome Black Americans—and also because I’m a bad self-promoter—I failed to tell you JUST ADD COLOR readers that I was on television this summer! This past June, I was featured as a guest on ABC 33/40’s local daytime talk show, Talk of Alabama. While I was there, talking about what it’s like to be a movie critic in Birmingham, one of the crew members, Roger Chaney, told me about his movie, The Truth Before We Say I Do.

Now that I’ve finally gotten finished with writing my book and am now on the promotion side of things, I finally have time to get back into the swing of writing articles and reviewing films. Long story short, my review for The Truth Before We Say I Do is well overdue.

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Chaney wrote and produced the film, which is about three brothers, Drew (Nathaniel Richardson), Terry (Tahj Vaughans) and Juan (Taylor D. Latham), who haven’t spoken to each other in years after tragedy struck their family. But now the opportunity for reconciliation has presented itself thanks to Drew’s upcoming wedding.

The Jeremy Lee-directed film is entirely shot in Birmingham, and it was fun to see locations that I’ve frequented, such as Railroad Park and areas around downtown Birmingham. I also appreciated that the film was about family coming back together.

Overall, the film shows the writing and directing potential Chaney and Lee have. Indeed, to me, the film can be seen as an allegory for the Birmingham film scene as a whole. There’s tons of potential here in the city—as you can see with Chaney, Lee and the entire cast and crew, there are lots of creative people ready to put in the work to hone their skills and deepen their craft. All that’s needed are the opportunities for more experience.

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As I did say in my ABC 33/40 interview, even though we do have a burgeoning film scene here, the community is still too small, in my opinion, to help hone the amount of talent that is in the city. That is the main thing I thought as I watched the film—the film would be better served if there was more time to develop the story, more opportunities for creative growth.

But overall, I feel like this is only the start for Chaney and his writing career, and ditto for Lee and his directing career. I hope that there are many more opportunities for them to hone their crafts, and who knows? Maybe in a few years’ time, we’ll see these two headlining at Birmingham’s Sidewalk Film Festival and beyond.

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