I am not a movie critic or some girl who is used to hanging out a Hollywood premieres just steps away from a movie star like Tiffany Haddish, but somehow I ended up at the Chinese Theatre among a sea of white people to see a movie with three female leads (all of which I am long-time fans of) one who happened to look like me.
When I was I invited out to cover this premiere one thing stuck out at me, I hadn't heard anything about this film. With three heavy hitters and a badass woman making her directorial debut, I would have at least Googled to find out more about the film.
I hadn't seen a trailer. A movie poster. A billboard. Nothing, and I live in Los Angeles.
This made me ask the question: Is Hollywood still toting the narrative that if you aren't white and male, no one wants to see you on-screen unless you're hot by European standards? I can't give a definitive yes or no on that, but based on my experience, knowing nothing about what turned out to be a movie beyond what I expected (in a good way), I can walk away with a maybe.
The Kitchen is an adaptation of a comic book miniseries from DC Vertigo about three married women living in New York City's Hell's Kitchen in the late 1970s who become mobsters after their husbands are sentenced to four years in jail.
One of the changes from the comic book is that three heroines of the story were white women but director Andrea Berloff made a mindful change to the story creating space for Ruby who Tiffany Haddish brings to life.
Just as a sat in my seat after running down Hollywood Boulevard in my faux red leather dress (think Cruella de Vil, but make it fashion), and Tibi heels to make it the theatre by 7:20 at 7:17 the house lights went down, and then I saw Tiffany Haddish, Melissa McCarthy, and Elizabeth Moss standing right in front of me. Okay, maybe not right in front of me (because I was given a seat at the back of theatre), but I was breathing the same air.
To be honest, as someone who is never starstruck, it was a serial moment for me. One that I don't take lightly and will always remember.
Before the lights went down and the film rolled, Tiffany Haddish said a prayer. I guess even movie stars get nervous about sharing their work.
As the movie began, I felt myself judging it.
So Ruby (Tiffany's character) is going to be the sidekick while one of the white women (Melissa McCarthy's character) saves the day? I've seen this movie so many times I almost checked out, but then Andrea Berloff got in the driver's seat and took a hard, fast left. A left so sharp, I closed my eyes and held my breath because I was stressed for the characters even if they were mobbing the street.
I can't say too much without giving the story away, but the messaging of The Kitchen is very clear.
We (women) are the do-ers, the changemakers, and the muscle even when the patriarchy tries to tell us otherwise.
If I am honest, some of the movie's messaging felt rooted in white feminism, but the ending of the film (which I did not see coming) made it up for it.
I have watched Tiffany Haddish, Melissa McCarthy, and Elizabeth Moss slay their most memorable roles (in Girl's Trip, Bridesmaids, The Handmaid's Tale respectively) and this was a departure for each of them which was so fun to watch. If you like mob movies, strong female leads, and writing that allows those leads to shine, this movie is worth a watch. One little disclaimer I will give for those who don't usually watch movies with violence, there will be a few parts where you'll want to close your eyes (you'll see them coming… actually there is one point when you won't, and it'll break your heart).
As the credits rolled and the audience clapped, I realized if we want to see more films starring and directed by women, we've got to support them.
The Kitchen is out in theaters this weekend. Watch the trailer for the film below.
THE KITCHEN - Official Trailer www.youtube.com
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