Tropic Sprockets Goes Streaming / Premature

By Ian Brockway

From Rashaad Ernesto Green, “Premature” is a study of a tangled romance. It is deep, direct, engrossing and empathetic. A compact film, the story is full of spirit and emotion.

Ayanna (Zora Howard) is a Harlem teen entrenched with her gossipy clique. She yearns to break out. At an outdoor gathering, she meets the older, mature-seeming Isaiah (Joshua Boone) who is pensive and thoughtful. The two hit it off gradually. Ayanna is head over heels, but then at a house visit, she realizes that Isaiah has a past with another woman. Ayanna gives Isaiah another chance, then realizes she is pregnant.

The next day she invites Isaiah out to eat with friends, but he is in a bad temper arguing with the girls about the differences between black men and women. He leaves in a huff and after another disagreement, tells Ayanna he wants to stop their relationship.

Zora Howard and Joshua Boone are both riveting as a kind of low key Romeo & Juliet pair, one young and the other older, yet not wanting to be confined by Ayanna. The character of Ayanna makes a striking parallel to Autumn (Sidney Flanigan) the protagonist of “Always Rarely Sometimes Never.” Like Autumn, Ayanna has nowhere to turn. Her mom is distant and Isaiah is conflicted, hung up by macho conventions. Both Ayanna and Autumn are flung about by hostile circumstances and rudely awakened by the pregnancy, an unexpected choice.

“Premature” is just as entrancing as the aforementioned melancholy “Always Rarely.” Hope is mixed with mindfulness and an understanding of two disparate hearts who meet in the middle.

This film is streaming on Hulu.

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