If Not Now, When? (2021)

Friends from high school are brought back together when a crisis happens for one of them. These four friends are bonded for life and have been best friends forever, but something had split them and they must now put things aside for the great good of their group.

Written by Tamara Bass who co-directed with Meagan Good, If Not Now, When? is a film about the friendship between women, the strength of these bonds through time if they are nurture, and how much friends can become like family. It is very much a female empowerment film, but in one of the best ways possible. This is one that doesn’t feel preachy about its lessons and its showing of friendships and relationships. There is something real here, amid all the luxuxy (most of the characters are rich or higher end of the income spectrum as adults, thus making them feel a bit disconnected from reality of those without as much money at times and with how some of their struggles are resolved), there is a friendship that seems real and they have some issues that can easily be connected with. While the aforementioned lux life is something that disconnects them from reality for most (and will disconnect the film as a whole for some viewers), the characters are strong enough to overcome that overall.

The cast here is what makes this film more than anything else, they have a chemistry that works for the story without which, the whole film would have fallen apart. Co-directors Tamara Bass and Meagan Good co-star in the film as Patrice and Tyra with Mekia Cox and Meagan Holder as Suzanne and Deidre rounding out the group of friends. This group not only gives good performances, they also make the film feel a bit more natural, even with the issues the film has on the story front. Out of them, the arc of Mekia Cox’s Suzanne is possibly the better one of the bunch, giving her much more nuance in how she plays her character. Her performance is the one that grabs the viewer by surprise about midway through the film and never lets go. Of course, the other three do good too, but she is the one that has the connection here even though her character is not the one with the most screen time or the most appealing storyline at the start. Her work is fantastic here.

If Not Now, When? is a film that was taken on as a review in an effort to vary a bit more from the recent cinematic diet of horror, scifi, and horror and it was a welcomed change of pace for one evening. The film is not perfect, but it’s easy to watch and the story of friendship seems realistic enough to be connected with. Of course, as mentioned before, the fact that all the friends seem to be successful women with money at the start of things kind of creates a disconnect, but thankfully the lead actresses make this disappear by giving performances that make their characters human and easier to stick with throughout the film.