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Review: The Honeymoon Movie

The Honeymoon tells the story of three best friends who jet off on an unexpected island holiday after one of them is left jilted by her fiancé the night before her wedding. Directed by Bianca Isaac and produced by Gregory Mthanji, starring Kajal Bagwandeen, Tumi Morake and Minnie Dlamini.

I was the first media guest to arrive at the exclusive screening of The Honeymoon at Emperors Palace in Johannesburg so I had a chance to mingle. I first met Nina Hastie who plays the character of Leslie, and she was MC’ing the media junket as well as the premiere. The Director, Bianca Isaac, and producer, Gregory Mthanji were also present which gave us an opportunity to chat over mimosas and scrumptious treats ahead of the screening. Gregory and I discussed the movie in depth and he gave me a heads up with regard to the mild expletives. This was an interesting talking point as we debated over whether using the ‘F’ word is still frowned upon in modern society. To be fair, the word occupies space in our minds rent free, making it’s way into conversations as we express our frustrations over minor inconveniences or even in moments of clarity and passion. It’s part of the culture, no?

“Personally, what are you expecting from the film?” He asked. Having seen a few local rom-coms in my lifetime, I honestly hadn’t given it much thought as they all pretty much have the same storyline. It was quite interesting to learn that the film is an action comedy and not a rom-com. The location is definitely a stand-out feature in the film, “I look forward to the cinematography, seeing as the film was shot at such a beautiful location,” I said, hoping that Gregory would talk me through the art and visual storytelling but he seemed more interested in my take. “Honestly, I’m hoping to see a true reflection of who we are as a people. Often with local comedy, it borders on caricature.” Gregory affirmed that the film captures the South African story aptly, and that it’s so relatable that it can be enjoyed by a global audience…he didn’t lie!

A few minutes into the movie, I felt myself drawn to the authenticity of the characters. Nina Simone’s character, Leslie eased us into the emotional roller coaster with her catchy phrase, “don’t be kak,” which has now taken on a life of it’s own. The story centres around Kat and Vivaan’s relationship, played by Kajal Bagwandeen and Tasveer Maharaj. The two love-birds are due to get married and jet off to Zanzibar for their honeymoon but things go South the night before the wedding. Kat’s pain is palpable as she struggles to come to terms with her new reality. Social media influencer Noks, played by Tumi Morake, drags Kat and married mother-of-two Lu (Minnie Dlamini) off to the dream holiday destination.

The scenic island becomes their playground as they live their best lives away from their responsibilities. The ladies try to hold Kat up while battling their own demons, and it seems mayhem is looming in the background. Lies and secrets find their way to the fore, threatening their friendship. But will they unravel?

The synergy shared by the three leading ladies on and off-screen is also worth noting, which prompted me to ask how it came about, at the media Q&A. The ladies shared that they’ve been friends for a while now, and as mothers they’ve shared some real and intimate moments on and off set. This translates well on screen, and I have to commend the ladies for the sensitivity displayed towards their characters. Noks, Lu and Kat could be any woman in the room, and their stories transcend place and time. This is a story about friendship, sisterhood, family, love, loss, freedom, identity and truth. The universal themes weave through the fibre of diverse communities and appeal to the core of humanity, prompting us to ask ourselves the hard questions. Are you living your truth? And most importantly, are you happy?

Head to a cinema near you and unpeel the layers with the characters who are on a quest to get to the truth of who they are. If the reality check elicits a passionate “oh fu*k!” This too, is real. On that note… shout out to Bianca Isaac, Gregory Mthanji and the entire cast and crew of The Honeymoon. You left your hearts on the set of The Honeymoon, and I can’t wait for the world to lap up your magic.

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