The Forty-Year-Old Version: Netflix Film Review


Netflix is really churning out the original film content at the moment – and this week, it’s Radha Blank‘s The Forty-Year-Old Version.

Blank plays Radha, a playwright in New York who hasn’t experienced success for a while and has turned to teaching. She hasn’t given up hope of writing a popular play, but she feels stifled by the theatre industry, the lack of resources and funding in small venues run by her acquaintances, and how she has to compromise her vision if she turns to a white producer. To express herself on her own terms, Radha begins to explore a rap career under the name RadhaMUSPrime.

Blank wrote and directed this film based off own experiences as a playwright and it is candid, funny, well-observed, and feels very personal. It’s no surprise it won the U.S Dramatic Competition Directing Award at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year.

I’m concerned hardly any Netflix viewers are going to click on this movie or perhaps be put off by its black and white 35mm appearance but I’m here to say it’s well worth a watch. Blank has written a smart movie about learning to find your voice and sometimes having to compromise to get what you want. It might be slightly too long and could have been chopped here and there but the rapping scenes are excellent, as is the finale.

Blank is a refreshing new voice and I’m excited to see what she does next.

Streaming on Netflix now

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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