Medicine for Melancholy – 44th Chicago International Film Festival

| October 23, 2008

Medicine for Melancholy screened at the 44th Chicago International Film Festival as part of the Black Perspectives Program.
The two African American characters in Medicine for Melancholy seem at first as if they were the perfect medicine for each other. But for Jo, she may have just needed a respite from what may have been a boring, safe life with her white live-in boyfriend.
Micah is a free spirit, who works as an aquarium installer, but he just doesn’t seem like the type Jo would put much faith in. The two meet, get drunk and have a one-night stand, which Micah would have given anything to have turn into a long-term relationship. They hang out the next day and night, also, after Jo leaves her wallet in the cab that the two share after leaving the party.
Micah gets to see a bit of Jo’s world, which he deems boring; and in turn after the two spend a day together visiting a couple of art galleries, cooking dinner together and going out clubbing, Jo gets to share a slice of “black reality” with Micah.
Even though Micah may not be Jo’s cup of tea, he’s a lovable sort—a cool, laid back, righteous brother who lives in what would be considered a walk-in closet for many.
They engage in a few debates about just what Jo sees in the white curator; with Jo questioning whether Micah thinks she should just be with him because he’s Black. But Micah is the type of man who just grows on you and he does manage to make Jo smile; and he’ll just have to be satisfied with that.
Director Barry Jenkins has set Medicine for Melancholy, which is a study in class, race and black identity, against the beautiful backdrop of San Francisco; and he makes anyone who has ever engaged in a one-night stand wonder “what if.”
For more info about the 44th Chicago International Film Festival running through October 29, visit

About the Author:

Elaine Hegwood Bowen, M.S.J., is an editor, writer and film critic in Chicago. She is the author of "Old School Adventures from Englewood--South Side of Chicago" and the proud parent of "the smart rapper"--chemist-turned-rapper, turned humanitarian...Psalm One!
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