The Forty-Year-Old Version by Radha Blank [7/10]

The Forty-Year-Old Version” is a passionate, semi-autobiographical examination of creative calling in the life of New York playwright Radha Blank, hailed at age thirty but almost a has-been at age forty. Reshaping herself, almost on a whim, as rapper RhadaMUSPrime, she embarks on a journey of artistic choice between twisting a play to fit a white audience or embracing scorching rapping from scratch. Radha Blank’s self-deprecating script fizzes with life and oscillates between intelligent dialogue, fiery performances, and funny situations. Directed by Blank, the film seems assured and mature, and while her own central performance occasionally (in my view) seems forced, some brilliant performances around her (just soak up Peter Kim and Oswin Benjamin) more than compensate. No rap fan, I nonetheless swooned at the rap scenes. A fresh take on a theme close to my heart, The Forty-Year-Old Version captivated me.

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