Live and Die With Bad Hair

The Stream: Chuckle-worthy but not funny, creepy but not scary.

The Big Screen: Good cast, storytelling and depiction that takes you back to 1989.

The Final Bill: A different take on a centuries old battle over the body and hair of the black woman.

– S2S: Movie Review and Nikki Starr
Director: Justin Simien
Writer: Justin Simien
Stars: Elle Lorraine, Vanessa Williams, Lena Waithe, Jay Pharoah | See full cast & crew »
Genre: ComedyHorror 
Rating: Unrated (R is most likely for language and violence)
Runtime: 1 hour 37 minutes
Platform: Hulu

Hulu finally came through with something to watch during this never-ending pandemic. Streamers, this week was a fruitful one of this pandemic. A group of us were able to watch, Bad Hair. I found it only fitting to get a special correspondent to weigh-in and analyze this film. We are taking this sibling-to-sibling movie review thing up a notch, and so I bring to you Nikki Starr – a jack of all trades has now added blogger to her repertoire. We both watched Bad Hair, which is a film set in 1989 about an ambitious young, black woman who gets a weave in order to advance in her career. What is the cost of a flourishing career and is it worth your hair and soul?

Now, I could review this film on my own, but I think the voice of someone with the lived-experience may provide some more insight to this nightmare. Nevertheless, from my point of view, this movie is spot on. I enjoyed the fact that this movie was horror enough but not scary and it was funny enough but not a joke. Writer/director, Justin Simien had a clear objective and balance the two tones of the film well. The feel of the late 1980’s vibe was on point. The overall story was compelling to me. The intensity and eeriness of scenes were moving enough for anyone to feel the main character’s anxiety, pain, fear, pride, etc. Also, the cast is diverse and jammed packed with talent, from Jay Pharoah to Usher and Vanessa Williams to Kelly Rowland and more. Even with such a star-studded cast, the lead, Elle Lorraine, stood out and gave us the full array of emotions throughout the movie. I’ve heard mixed reviews on this film; so, I think it’s time to bring in Vaughn. *Wild Thing music plays* Let’s see what our special correspondent felt about Bad Hair.

Nikki Starr: This film seemed to be less about the hair and more about how black women are perceived in the workplace. Specifically, how they have to change to “fit in” or succeed.  More importantly, there were a lot of ideas thrown out but none get fully fleshed out. The “weave sew in” scene is particularly effective and fully shows the pain people of color take on, and hide, to be seen as acceptable.  This film seems to be saying, “It’s ok to wear your hair/present yourself however you want, but if you wear weaves or wigs you’re selling out.”  Which is it? She literally has natural hair and works at Culture but gets a weave to fit in at Cult. But even in that transition she never truly undergoes a transformation. The journey is implied but not shown. She has killer hair but the other people are zombies and killer hair? The story arc for the main character and her hair never made sense compared to the other cast members. And again if you want your natural hair then you’re normal but if you have a weave then you’re a zombie out to destroy culture? That is not cool. Worth seeing for free but not the best.

S2S: I want to thank The Starr for her insights and points. I agree, but one interesting aspect I found the idea of being natural at Culture and being accepted with a weave in Cult in itself spoke volumes on the word play. You join the cult or your culture is taken over by this hair idea. Either way, its a good discussion piece whether you enjoy the movie, or not.

S2S: Official Rating Scale

Long story short, I understand and agree with things Nikki said. Stream To Big Screen again send special thanks to her for being our guest correspondent. But fortunately for Bad Hair, I still feel even with the negative aspects, this movie is worth seeing. Bad Hair was well-done (even though scant execution), well-cast, and a creepy joy to watch and giggle at. It was pegged as a horror/comedy and I enjoyed both elements as if I’m watching “Thriller.” Viewers can enjoy a handful to a bowl of popcorn watching this Hulu flick.