Director: Denzel Washington
Writer: Virgil Williams
Starring: Michael B. Jordan, Chanté Adams, Jalon Christian, Robert Wisdom, Tamara Tunie, Jasmine Batchelor, Marchánt Davis, Susan Pourfar, Vanessa Aspillga, Grey Henson
Denzel Washington’s latest film as director is A Journal for Jordan, which is based on the memoir written by Dana Canedy. It’s about Dana’s, who is played by Chanté Adams, relationship with 1st Sergeant Charles Monroe King (Michael B. Jordan). It’s framed as a journal that Charles wrote for his and Dana’s son, Jordan, along with the memoir that Dana wrote. Charles died overseas in Iraq and the journal he left behind is how his son has grown to know him.
The film is split between scenes after Charles’s death and flashbacks showing his relationship with Dana from meeting in the late 1990s until his death. Just before Charles is deployed overseas, Dana gives him a journal to write a few words of wisdom for his son to read, in case anything happens to him. He wrote as much as he possibly could, and the film sticks to it as closely as possible. Dana Canedy was involved with the film, visiting set and has been quite close with Denzel Washington for a number of years. It’s an incredibly personal story and their love shines through the screen.
Both Michael B. Jordan and Chanté Adams give incredible performances, giving everything, they’ve got to their roles. The chemistry between them is tangible, and it really gets to you, especially knowing what’s coming right from the start. You get a real send of who Charles and Dana were as people and as a couple. The film is a series of snapshots of their life together and it’s incredibly gripping from the first scene. It’s a heart-breaking story.
It would be possible to watch this film and feel that it’s a little overly sentimental at points. They are real people and you can feel that, but this does gloss over some of the difficult moments of their relationship. At one point, when Charles makes it clear that he won’t be home to see the birth of his son, Dana is scared and angry, but cut a couple of scenes and it’s all forgotten. While there are moments that feel like a ‘Hollywood’ version of the events, it’s easy to overlook it. It’s still a gripping and engaging drama. A truly fitting tribute to 1st Sergeant Charles Monroe King.
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