Director: Clark Johnson
Writers: Roderick M. Spencer (screenplay), Sheila Williams (book)
Stars: Alfre Woodard, Bonnie Johnson, Jordan Nia Elizabeth, Adam Beach
Jaunita is now available on Netflix for your viewing and guilty pleasure. Rated TV-MA, the film is a decadent story of heroine Juanita and her journey of self-discovery and reclamation of what it means to live.
Fed up with her unfulfilling job, deadbeat adult children, and nights babysitting her grandchild, Juanita decides that enough is enough. She buys a bus ticket to Butte, Montana, which she hilariously mispronounces as “Butt.”
Throughout her journey, Juanita’s mind oftentimes wonders, and she fantasizes in attempts to bring herself joy and fulfilment. She has a hot and sensual relationship with actor Blair Underwood, and these scenes are exciting and sensual up to the point where Blair ruins it by being a deadbeat and asking for money. Adding to the hilarity of it all is Juanita constantly calling him Blair Underwood.
As she journeys to Butte, Juanita faces many fears, and as odd as they can be, the audience is left rooting for her. One such obstacle she must overcome is her complete discomfort with and awkwardness of being outside in nature. As the bus traverses through the Rockies, Juanita must aggressively tell herself to stay the course and face nature head-on, even if this means just sitting on the bus as it winds through the mountain passes.
Along the way, Juanita meets a plethora of interesting characters who move and help Juanita evolve. On the advice of one new friend, Juanita finds herself in Paper Moon, Montana, which has a French restaurant and an inn.
It is here that Juanita meets Jess, a Native American chief played by Adam Beach, who refuses to cook anything other than gourmet French food. Rather than continue arguing about his limited menu, Jess offers Juanita a job as a cook. Beach’s role as an Indian French chef is refreshing and interesting for an Indian character.
It is through her friendship with Jess that Juanita begins to see life differently. Jess is a veteran who battles PTSD with alcohol, and Juanita’s relentlessness rubs off on him. The two find themselves becoming closer than either anticipated and realize that they need each other.
It is at a powwow that Juanita is blessed and gains a new perspective about what it means to live in peace.
Will Jess and Juanita fall in love? Does Juanita really find peace in small town Montana? Will Juanita reclaim her life?
You must watch the movie on Netflix to find these answers.