My girlfriend’s girlfriend; my wife to be


MAKING peace over a joint: Allen (Brad James) and Kiya (Altovise Lawrence). Photograph courtesy

WHEN THE LOVE of your life seems to be crossing to the other side, do you beat your breast and yell blue murder? Do you wallop the new partner in the eye the day before said nuptials? Maybe you recede into the background with a broken heart. Warren Pemberton’s The Other Side is a boy meets girl kinda tale, with a little queer complication thrust in to give it life.

So, yes, boy meets girl. Wedding bells sound in the foreseeable future, with tulle and veils and all the traditional churchy trimmings. But let’s take a step or two back. Boy (Brad James) meets girl (Erica Hubbard) at the instigation of said girl’s dad, who happens to be said boy’s boss. Said boy is the creative director for an advertising agency, rotten with sex-obsessed young men. It’s all they can talk about. The agenda is closeted, though the meeting with the boss (Roger Guenveur Smith) is full of mixed messages, with Prince concert tickets proffered to seal this union.

Replete with every kind of gay and homophobic cliché and stereotype you can dream of, it’s a bubblegum film strictly for mainstream audiences, but with the key role played by Altovise Lawrence, some sparkles of charm are exuded, with a smidgeon of audacity and several dollops of raw emotion.

It’s difficult to explain how this element is slipped into the simple and largely predictable folds of this tale which take you to sexual dalliances in university hostels, touch on the idiocy of bible bashing bigots and present you with bedroom jokes which are utterly cringe-worthy. It’s also difficult to explain how this silly little story of love across genders doesn’t teeter off, riddled with politically incorrect faux pas into the region of the deeply offensive. All of this has, most possibly to do with the levity with which the whole cast, indeed every last cardboard cutout in the story, handles the work.

If you leave your critical filter at home for this piece of queer mainstream frivolity, and acknowledge it as important on the local film circuit for precisely this reason, The Other Side will leave you with a grin on your face.

  • The Other Side is directed by Warren Pemberton and performed by  Nick Arapoglou, LaKeta Booker, Cocoa Brown, Robert Browning, Monica Crumpler, Walter Hendrix III, Erica Hubbard, Monique Jackson, Brad James, Brian Kayode-Patrick Johnson, Adele Latell, Altovise Lawrence, Shawn Luckey, BreeAnna Marie, Melody Marie, Barin Nelyse, Ryan Newton, Miguel A Núñes Jr, Daniel Orellana, Bryant Pearson, Nandi Pemberton, Usman Sharif, Ed Silvera, Nicole Slaughter, Roger Guenveur Smith, Carol Anne Taylor, Grace Thomas and Deantre Williams. It is written by Warren Pemberton, and, produced by Usman Sharif, it features creative input by Daeus Cannon (music), Bruce Lane (cinematography), Donnie Leapheart (editing), Rhavyn Drummer and Nathan Wright (casting), Zenita Carswell and Tanisha Coffey (set) and Isaiah Klepper and Theresa Morales (costumes). Release date, in South Africa: May 3 2019.

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