Review: To the Girl That Looks Like Me

Written and directed by Ewurakua Dawson-Amoah, an experimental poetry piece that celebrates black women, who continue to thrive in a system that was not built for them. This visual poem explores culture, self-love and self-discovery through a string of vignettes that combine dance, folklore, modern culture and spirituality.

It’s not an easy thing to create a visual representation that can accurately bring forth the emotions of the words that plan to sit atop it, to have them working entirely in sync while being technically separate, but this short film achieves that with ease. One reason that it works so well is that both its key elements are equally striking; you have this wonderfully sharp, clear visual working with a smoothly flowing, beguiling voice. It also uses a great contrast, opening upon the very cold and stark setting then as the tone and direction of the poetry changes, so does the setting, moving to very natural and aesthetically superb locations which beautifully highlight the women featured in the film.

Undeniably the heart of this film is with the meaningful and impactful nature of its words. It’s dealing with heavy, complicated and significant topics that have an undoubtedly political vein but the tone it takes of refusing to let societal prejudice and racism alter your self-perception, balances out the sharpness with a generosity and kindness. Even in its brief 6 minutes, it manages to strongly make its point, exploring how society has graduated from discriminating against and insulting Black style and culture, to stealing it for themselves. It’s very clear in its overall intention to serve as a reminder to Black women that you should celebrate the things that make you, you and never let society try to frame how you should perceive yourself, which is inherently detrimental to mental health.

It’s impressive that it manages to dip its toes into a conversation that certainly requires an ongoing and larger discussion, in a way that’s effective and impactful. The tone and flow of the poetry chooses its words wisely, it has a perfect rhythm to keep driving forward and gets to the heart of the matter without any meandering along the way. It also adds an extremely personal perspective, its message may be a much wider one but telling it through the eyes of one young woman brings a warmth and touching nature.

To the Girl That Looks Like Me is a clever, striking and impressive way to bring poetry to life. It manages to weave these two moving pieces together with a beautiful synchronicity. Its visual is striking while its words are thoughtful, meaningful and told through an enchanting tone. It uses its handful of minutes to make a significant point about how society treats Black women, how important it is to value yourself and to not let the prejudice and racism of others frame how you see yourself.

Verdict: ✯✯✯✯| 8/10

Available to watch as part of Long Distance Film Festival

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