So, a film about a young convert finding her place (and herself) as a Muslim while also coming into her own as a young adult. You would not be wrong to deduce that I’m cheering for this film to succeed on several levels, whether it’s a good film or not.
But the debut film of Nijla Mumin IS a good film. Better than I was expecting. That’s not a knock on Nijla, that’s me as a heavily experienced film geek knowing that ‘first films’… you just instinctively lower your expectations after a while. You look for potential more than you look for anything too promising in what’s in front of you.
So, the story of Jinn, which starts off as a tale of a young black mother (Luke Cage’s Simone Missick) finding herself in Islam, gradually shifts its focus to the point of view of the daughter (Zoe Renee, who is a revelation). On top of the stresses of being a high school senior trying to get into art school, now add in your mother adopting a new religion and trying to fit into a completely new community that you may not want to be a part of. Now THAT’S some organic, ready made conflicts.
A perfect film, no. But a film that left me wanting to see what comes next from its leading actress and director? Absolutely.