Like this autumn’s Marriage Story, Premature follows a relationship between two artists whose personal lives blend into their creative endeavours – but in this film the beginning, end, and a possible path to reconciliation are all given their due. Or would be, if the film allowed its cast to find nuance beneath the surface. Premature is standard romantic drama material, and the charismatic performances and natural ensemble work in the beginning start it on strong footing. As expected in love stories, the magical first act gives way to a disillusioned second; unfortunately, the abruptness of this transition and several overly dramatic choices – both in terms of filmmaking and plot – reveal the thinness of the script in the second and third acts. Emotional involvement is thus quickly lost, and the questions resolved and opened at the end feel unearned.

Zora Howard is luminous, giving Ayanna’s voice authenticity and grace and carrying the film through its most dire portions. As Isaiah, Joshua Boone charms, but he is saddled with behaviour that puts viewers immediately on his girlfriend’s side. The supporting cast’s vivacity makes one wish that the same dynamism had gone into the central couple. After the initial meet-cute the relationship’s chemistry relies wholly on its sex scenes, which fail to sell the connection when their pairing turns sour. This lack of connection outside the bedroom could be purposeful, and could make a statement about codependency and a youthful search for meaningful, intimate connection. Unfortunately, this film does not convincingly add the required nuance.

Premature lives up to its title, in the sense that its honesty and impact are lost in half-baked delivery and an unsubtle script which kill its emotional vulnerability after the first act. It is a shame that the engaging screen presences in this work are lost in the process.



CAST: Zora Howard, Joshua Boone, Michelle Wilson, Alexis Marie Wint

DIRECTOR: Rashaad Ernesto Green

WRITERS: Rashaad Ernesto Green, Zora Howard

SYNOPSIS: A young poet meets a mysterious musician, and their artistic and personal world collide with dramatic results.