This Sept. 16, 2013 file photo shows Wendell Pierce at the NBC 2013 Fall season launch party in New York. He has a new film opening, an edgy indie drama titled “Four” wherein he plays a family man who keeps his homosexuality secret while he hooks up harmfully with a teenage boy through an online dating site. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File)
306 Releasing presents “Four” starring Wendell Pierce, Aja Naomi King, Emory Cohen, and E.J. Bonilla. The movie follows four characters on their difficult journeys through a complex 4th of July.
Joe (Pierce) spends his Independence Day evening meeting up with a young White man, June (Cohen), that he found online, while his daughter, Abigayle (King), stays home to care for her ailing mother. Daddy’s dirty deeds do not go unnoticed as Abigayle stirs up some trouble of her own with boyfriend, Dexter (Bonilla). Dexter, stricken with domestic issues of his own, lets his relationship habits, lack of self-assurance and self-confidence about race completely take a toll on his admiration for Abigayle.
Aja Naomi King, a recent Yale graduate and young actress, identifies with her character, Abigayle, both coming from small quiet towns with a low Black population and yearning for perfection. King says the film “shows you how much easier life could be if we were so much more open and accept each other as we are,” adding that with that understanding , “there wouldn’t be catastrophic moments with the people we love.” King played Abigayle as if she had been rehearsing for this role all her life.
When you mention Wendell Pierce, I automatically think back to my innocent days of watching Waiting to Exhale, when it was clearly too inappropriate for my consumption. And then, as a teenager, it didn’t really get much better when I fell in love with the HBO series’ The Wire. One might say that I’m all too familiar with the works of Mr. Wendell Pierce, from A Rage in Harlem to his newest role on the Michael J. Fox Show.
But in his role as Joe, Pierce pinched a different nerve. It was often times difficult to stomach the images of his character’s hidden homosexuality but it mirrored the feelings that most of us have. For me, it wasn’t just the same sex acts. The initial uncomfortable feeling came from knowing of a married man partaking in homosexual extra-martial affairs.
Pierce is a true master of deception and bravery making Joe not only convincing, but cunning. More developed than Ving Rhames in Holiday Heart or Wesley Snipes in Too Wong Foo, Pierce actually gave you the controversial depiction of a confused, misguided Black man trying to appear to live a perfect life.
3.5 STARS: Four maintained a serious tone full of love, passion, deception, and damage. The film opens up the doors for a healthy dialogue about taboo issues, such as men on the down- low, sexual solicitation on the internet, safe sex, domestic problems, and self-image. Catered with a small yet vibrant cast, this movie is definitely a must see!
After raving reviews on the film festival circuit, “Four” opened nationwide in 8 cities on Friday, September 13th.