Lila & Eve (2015)

lilaandeve_2015_poster
Lila & Eve (2015)
  • Time: 94 min
  • Genre: Drama | Thriller
  • Director: Charles Stone III
  • Cast: Jennifer Lopez, Viola Davis, Aml Ameen

Storyline:

Lila, a grief-stricken mother reeling from her son’s murder, attends a support group where she meets Eve, who urges her to take matters into her own hands to track down her son’s killers. They soon embark on a journey of revenge, but also recovery.

2 reviews

  • Lila & Eve is a revenge drama built on a fairly sound foundation that is inevitably waterlogged by its weaknesses. Though the material proves far beneath her, Viola Davis nonetheless delivers a characteristically excellent performance, giving good grief as a bereft mother turned vigilante.

    Davis plays public-records worker Lila, still reeling from the street-corner shooting of her 18-year-old son Stephon (Aml Ameen). Consumed with grief, she’s barely coping with taking care of her younger son Justin (Ron Caldwell), who is doing his best to be mindful of her state of mind. She’s frustrated with the detectives (Shea Whigham and Andre Royo) on the case, who seem unconcerned with finding her son’s killer much less remembering her name. Hoping to assuage her despair, she joins a support group for mothers who have undergone similar losses. Yet their words of understanding and comfort anger rather than soothe.

    A fellow support group member, Eve (Jennifer Lopez), shares her pain, scoffing at the other mothers who talk and talk but don’t do anything to make things right. No one can imagine how helpless and ineffectual Lila feels over losing her son to such senseless violence. No one, except Eve. She encourages Lila to seek justice for Stephon. If the police won’t do their jobs, then it’s up to Lila and Eve to do it for them. Soon the two women are confronting drug dealers and leaving dead bodies in their wake.

    “He’s somebody’s child,” Lila says in shock after she and Eve commit their first, albeit accidental, murder. It’s a terrific line, perfectly encapsulating Lila’s remorseful misgivings. To find her son’s killer means depriving other mothers of their sons. There’s so much that could have been done with that thread or even the scene in which the mother of two of Lila and Eve’s victims is deemed unworthy of being consoled by the support group because her sons were criminals. Patrick Gilfillan’s screenplay is littered with such promising seeds that are never nourished to fruition.

    Instead, director Charles Stone III – and presumably the studio executives at A Lifetime Films – narrow the focus on the Thelma-and-Louise vigilante aspect. The problem with this tactic is that the scenes in which the women exact their vengeance, accidental or otherwise, are so badly written and executed that they come off as a summer camp production of a Saturday Night Live sketch. These scenes cheapen the movie which, despite its shortcomings, does make a genuine attempt to explore how anguish can lead to suspect coping mechanisms, whether it be Lila and Eve’s self-empowering vendetta or another support group member’s faith-based delusions.

    Davis and Lopez, who co-starred in 1998’s Out of Sight, often come off as more Lucy and Ethel than Thelma and Louise, but that’s more the fault of the screenplay rather than the efforts of the actresses. Lopez holds her own against the formidable Davis. Her tough-talking Eve does teeter into the caricaturish, though that may be mandated by the plot twist revealed late in the third act.

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  • “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things that I cannot change… The courage to change the things that I can… And the wisdom to know the difference.”

    Lila (Viola Davis) and Eve (Jennifer Lopez) are two grief-drawn women after their children have been killed. Unlike others, they won’t throw in the towel and want to take revenge. It’s time they take matters into their own hands. You guessed it. It’s just another revenge movie that’s being released on mankind. This time it’s about two grieving mothers who are about to face a brutal drug gang and their errand boys who are dealing on every street corner. That’s an element that doesn’t occur often in a revenge movie. Unfortunately it came across as quite implausible. The police hit a dead end, so the investigation isn’t really progressing (but according to the two avenging angels, this is due to their laxness because the victims are colored individuals). However, the two innocent housewives, whose lives only consist of doing household chores, redesigning the interior and attending a support group for parents of murdered children, can get to the kingpin of this drug gang, just by using simple interrogation techniques and some data from a mobile phone.

    The acting part was far from bad. At certain moments Davis and even Lopez perform excellent. Davis was a complete stranger for me (that’s because I hate television series and haven’t seen “How to Get Away with Murder”) but she’s excellent at the beginning as the mother who collapses and survives on pills. A brilliant piece of acting. During the confrontations with the young rascals, her appearance as the clumsy fury wasn’t that successful. I was more surprised about Lopez who, unlike her part in “Parker”, showed she really can act decently. She was quite convincing as the self-righteous, rebellious vigilante who thinks that the concept of the support group is a bit too soft. She’s the driving force behind Lisa’s revenge.

    Maybe I wasn’t paying attention enough or I was tired while watching “Lila & Eve”, because I really didn’t see that plot twist coming at the end. The film on its own wasn’t so impressive however. It was rather a “ah, that’s the direction they are going” feeling I had afterwards. The closure was a bit too sentimental and unreal. Ultimately, it’s only an average, ordinary film so to speak. Nothing exciting or captivating. Even the acting couldn’t save this film. In short, it’s just one to add to your list of movies you should watch when you’re retired, because you have plenty of time then.

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