SXSW 2019 – Review: THE WEEKEND Is An Annoyingly Bland Rom-Com

The Weekend is a new romantic comedy film written and directed by Stella Meghie and starring Sasheer Zamata. The movie tells the story of a comedian who is trapped on a weekend vacation with her ex-boyfriend (for whom she still has feelings) and his new girlfriend. It debuted at the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival and played in the Festival Favorites section at the 2019 SXSW Film Festival.

Perhaps the biggest issue with the film is that its story is so generic. There have been a million movies about love triangles, dating back to early film history, and this script doesn’t do anything to reinvent the wheel. The perspective from which the conflict is presented doesn’t feel particularly fresh or unique, and as a result, the movie doesn’t have much to make it stand out.

Another issue with the film is that its characters aren’t particularly likable. In fact, some of them end up feeling outright annoying. The protagonist is a rather bland character. She is given very little to develop her other than the love triangle in which she was placed. Had there been more development on her background or career, the character would have been far more compelling as a whole. It also would have helped had the supporting characters been well-written to complement her.

Furthermore, there is absolutely no reason that a movie about a stand-up comedian should be this boring. Since the film isn’t really about the protagonist’s career, there are very few scenes of her actually performing. This is a shame because Zamata is a talented comic and the movie would have done well to utilize her talents. Instead, the film plays out like a straightforward melodrama that is exhausting to watch.

the weekend zamata
Credit: James J. Robinson.

That being said, the movie does have a few scenes that are somewhat resonant. The rivalry between the different groups of characters is certainly over-the-top, but the interactions between the groups are more effective. For example, some of the interactions between Zadie and Bradford do feel somewhat real-to-life.

The biggest strength of the film is its ensemble. All four of the leads do a good job in their roles. Zamata delivers a strong performance that is quite enjoyable despite the lack of humor in the script. It will be interesting to see what she will do in the future when she can star in a movie with a much more comedic lead role. The supporting cast of Tone Bell, DeWanda Wise, and Y’lan Noel do well in their roles too.

In technical terms, the film is quite simple. There is little flash in the execution, with both the cinematography and use of music being minimal. The independent nature of this movie is obvious, and the focus of the film is on the script and performances. This would have been alright if not for the fact that the script is largely uninteresting.

Overall, The Weekend was a disappointing film. Despite the efforts of the cast, the script simply isn’t compelling enough to make the movie a very interesting watch.

The Weekend is now playing at the 2019 SXSW Film Festival.

By Sean Boelman

Sean is a film student, aspiring filmmaker, and life-long cinephile. For as long as he can remember, he has always loved film, but he credits the film Pan's Labyrinth as having started his love of film as art. Sean enjoys watching many types of films, although some personal favorite genres include dramatic comedies, romantic comedies, heist films, and art horror.

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