Review by Dan Skip Allen
The last year and a half have been hard on a lot of people. Many folks have lost their jobs and have ended up homeless. Life has been very hard on all of us in this country and abroad, and many people have struggled with the illness of COVID-19. I'm Fine (Thanks for Asking) is a stark look at a mother and her child during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Kelly Kali pulls quadruple duty on this film. She wrote the script, directed it, produced it, and stars as Danny, a mother struggling to live while also raising her daughter, Wes (Wesley Moss). She tries to make ends meet by braiding hair and also delivering food, all while traveling on roller skates. She tells her daughter that they are camping in a tent because it's fun and she used to do it with her late husband.
This film is a breakout role for Kali, but the fact that she wrote, produced, and directed it means it's a real passion project for her. This story has to hit home for her. The fact that it is so hard-hitting means a lot of people can relate to it and the struggles the main character is going through. Even if this pandemic hadn't happened, this film would be very relevant. I can sure relate because my mother struggled to take care of four kids and Kali's character really reminds me of my own mother.
This film has an autobiographical feel to it even though it's a scripted movie. Kali's character runs into various people that she knows: an old friend, a man that is trying to get with her, and a mugger. All these characters help move the plot forward but don't really do anything for the overall plight of the lead character and her daughter. It's a starring vehicle for Kali, and she steals the show.
Single mothers aren't anything new in the world or in films and television. The struggles they have can be a real heavy load on them and their families. They have to do things they don't want to do but are necessary to help make things better for themselves. A wish to make her daughter safe and happy is at the heart of what Chatman is going for. It's the heart of what all single mothers are striving for, for their kids and themselves in the end, pandemic or not.
I'm Fine (Thanks for Asking) airs on BET Her on August 7 at 7pm ET/PT.