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Kenneth Brown Jr., Shamea Morton, Peyton Coles, Reece Odum
Dui Jarrod
107 Mins.
Breaking Glass Pictures

 "Lesson Before Love" Hits Home Video With Breaking Glass Pictures 
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With intelligence and conviction, writer/director Dui Jarrod's Lesson Before Love avoids gimmicks in favor of authenticity and introspection in examining the lives of Eric (Kenneth Brown Jr.), Alexis (Shamea Morton), Cullen (Peyton Coles), and Janae (Reece Odum), all of whom are single and tremendously dissatisfied living their flavorless lives. There is an intriguing and amped up first meeting between on-line chat buddies Eric and Alexis, a meeting that brings rise to a flood of emotions as they all end up meeting for a night on the town.

After this meeting, each individual and collectively they begin to learn lessons they must learn before love can truly enter their lives.

While Lesson Before Love may sound like it follows yet another variation of a romantic drama or rom-com formula, Jarrod has wisely gone a smarter route in crafting well rounded and interesting characters who avoid, for the most part, any sign of caricature or formula. While the film is not without its flaws, it compensates for the predictable drawbacks of working with a limited budget by telling a believable and involving story in a way that doesn't feel manufactured.

For some, Lesson Before Love may feel like a bit too calm for its meaty and convicting material. It would be an understanding viewpoint, but one that misses the power behind Jarrod's pointed dialogue and the film's rather strong and relentless stance that we are the ones getting in the way of our own happiness in relationships.

Jarrod avoids ambiguity in favor of actually taking a side or at the very least a stance, an approach that gives the film a strong narrative structure and avoids any notion that there is, in fact, not an answer to our relationship dilemmas.

Jarrod clearly believes in the words that he has written.

Tyler Dixon's lensing is atmospheric and mood appropriate, while Daeus Cannon's original music gives the film a lively and spirited vibe. The film's ensemble cast exhibits a strong chemistry with one another, a fact that makes the film's more intimate and introspective moments that much more powerful.

Lesson Before Love has been picked up by indie distributor Breaking Glass Pictures for a home video release and they've offered the film quite the packing including an audio commentary with Jarrod and Dixon, promos with the crew, a "Meet Dui Jarrod" featurette, and bonus trailers. Lesson Before Love can be ordered beginning 2/4/2014 and hits the streets on 2/25/2014.

© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic   

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