When the phrase 'Just a Friend' is uttered from the lips of entertainment enthusiasts, one thinks of Biz Markie's platinum award-winning song released in 1989. He really knew what he was talking about! 'Just a Friend' is one of the most commonly used terms surrounding men and women in relationships, but it can be interpreted as many different meanings.
Writer and director, Annette Galloway explores the meaning of the term 'Just A Friend' through her 2017 film work of the same name. One of her her film debuts was in Chicago at the Landmark Theater in February on Valentine’s Day 2018. In her rom-com, Mia (Drew Sidora) and Trevor (Trae Ireland) meet in a club. After a brief encounter, Mia decides that Trevor is a player and wants nothing to do with him. Flash forward a few years, they meet again in the same club and decide to start over. The two become bosom buddies and share secrets, but both have love interests. Mia's controlling boyfriend Antonio(James Lee Grant) becomes angered and jealous by her bff man (Trevor). Trevor's love interest Autumn (Tocarra Jones) is thrilled when Antonio becomes serious with Mia. Trevor goes through women like water, not really being serious about anyone, except when it comes to Mia. Christopher Nolen plays a convincing, stalker-ish client named Ray; a devilish character that Mia can’t shake. Relationships are tested to the brink when emotions and intent are finally revealed.
The term that Galloway is referencing can be understood in the realm of relationships, dating, or so-called "platonic friends". Mia's friend, Wanda (Erica Hubbard) states that "women want love, men want sex; men are rough (skinned), women are soft, etc." Lines are blurred when dealing with issues of physicality and matters of the heart. Interpretation and events surrounding 'Just a Friend' in the film are explained and developed by the friend theories and philosophies that Wanda categorizes in the “default friend zone” while in conversation with a suitor. Wanda argues that men and women want completely different things and no one can convince her otherwise. She resolves that successful relationships that works are ones that finds a happy medium, honesty, and communication.
Mia must decide on how to resolve her issues and take acceptance for seeing the signs of things and not heeding to them (which I’m sure most of us have done in relationships). Some have called it a “gut feeling” others call it intuition, discernment, holy ghost warning, or flashing red lights that beckon us to stop in our tracks before proceeding.
Annette Galloway creates a web of drama-filled events that include comedy and flashbacks that warn us why we should or shouldn’t have gone down the path. She provides a delicate balance of comedy and drama to create the right formula for 'Just a Friend.'
Annette Galloway provides a view that includes perspectives of both men and women collectively on the types of relationships that can co-exist. These dysfunctional and sometimes unyielding worlds collide when persons exude lack of restraint of desired actions by pushing boundaries. When it comes to issues of the heart, these things are most delicate and difficult to render clean, cut and dry. There are blurred lines…This film touches on issues that we sees in everyday life as commonplace or mundane. A small event or a string of events can blossom into a budding romance or wither and die damaging our roots from lack of nourishment.
Overall, I think that 'Just A Friend' comes from a place from experience from the writer and what she has observed in the ones around her. It is true that most to the time women and men want different things. There should be communication and understanding, common belief systems and/or morals, and most of all equal yokes in spirit. Relationships need work and this film proves that there is no such a thing as 'Just a Friend' between a man and a woman if it is outside the realm of business and if they are attracted to each other. It is our nature as humans to be instinctual and sexual beings. Our desires sometimes dictate what we are to become, if we lack control over finding truth and perseverance of goals, this hinders our ability to navigate through successful relationships and reach the fullest potential of our best selves. I rate this film 3 out of 4 stars.
Executive, associate, and co-producers include: Jon Adler, Annette Galloway, Darrell K. Galloway, James Lee Grant, Trae Ireland, Seneca Lester