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JEAN OF THE JONESES (2016). Courtesy of Search Engine Films.

Director Stella Meghie said that when Taylour Paige auditioned for the starring role in Jean of the Joneses, she pirouetted into the room with a flamboyance that swiftly convinced the filmmaker she'd finally found her leading woman. Paige's penchant for flair and the unexpected makes the titular Jean, a floundering but talented ingenue of a writer, a curious and loveable character to behold in Meghie's feature debut. Surrounded by a Jamaican-American family of loud women – each quietly clasping her own secret – Jean tries to figure out just who the old man is who just dropped dead on her grandma's doorstep. Add an adorable, doe-eyed paramedic (Mamoudou Athie) to the mix and you've got yourself a genuine comic-mystery romcom. Filmed in Toronto and Brooklyn, this later-than-usual coming-of-age tale takes its cues from both Woody Allen's self-indulgent worlds and the literary panache of Zadie Smith, but remains original in its darkly funny perspective on the contemporary black experience and that universal feeling of having lived a third of your life but still being no closer to figuring it out.

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