The Forty-Year-Old Version Poster

The Forty-Year-Old Version (2020)

Rayting:   7.1/10
Country: USA
Language: English

Radha is a down on her luck NY playwright, who is desperate for a breakthrough before 40. Reinventing herself as rapper RadhaMUSPrime, she vacillates between the worlds of Hip Hop and theater in order to find her true voice.

Director: Radha Blank Writer:

Stars: Radha Blank, Peter Kim and Oswin Benjamin

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User Reviews

jadepietro 15 October 2020



IN BRIEF: A flawed but intriguing look at an artist's journey.

JIM'S REVIEW: Artists are often told to make art based on what you know and that sage advice is exactly what Radha Blank did in her autobiographical indie debut entitled The Forty-Year-Old Version. This engaging comedy, filmed mostly in b&w and on a the smallest of budgets, depicts an artist's journey with many interesting characters and stops along the way.

Ms. Blank directs, writes, and stars here, making an impressive triple-threat debut. She plays Radha, a struggling playwright unable to find success she drifts into the world of hiphop, her real passion. A 30 year-old prodigy, Radha has gone nowhere in these past ten years, except for her teaching job which helps to pay the bills. As she wrestles with self-doubt and depression, her latest artistic project improbably gets green-lighted for Broadway. This contrived plot device leads her and moviegoers to this question: Will the artist stay true to her own vision or sell out? It's a fictitious version of herself and any artist's on-going dilemma. Ms. Blank uses her real life experiences and unique talents to convey those two conflicting worlds quite effectively.

As an actress, she is a commanding screen presence with some droll comic timing. Her screenplay creates an authentic world, one step from poverty and living off the gritty streets of Harlem. Her dialog has sparks of insight and wit. However, her depiction of her Caucasian characters in the film is slightly offensive though humorous. There is a a reverse Uncle Tomism subtly on display as these white stereotype characters become mere bobbleheads, walking cliches of ineptitude and silliness who are out of touch with the world and more concerned about their white privilege. In her directorial debut, Ms. Blank establishes her narrative well, but lets too many scenes go on past their expiration date, including a rap smackdown sequences that honors the craft but adds little to the story. The movie felt padded with too much attention to atmosphere and not enough on the plot structure. A shorter film version itself or more judicious editing by the filmmaker could have made the movie have greater impact.

Peter Kim as her gay friend/agent Archie and Oswin Benjamin as D, her rapper friend and muse, provide strong support as does Reed Birney as J. Whitman, in a thankless role as the pompous producer of her play.

The Forty-Year-Old Version is as crude and raw as its profane language and liberal use of n-words, but there is much to say and hear from a promising and gifted artist. One looks forward to her next project.

bellmattl 23 August 2020

Wow, am I really leaving the first review? This movie made me laugh (a lot, lots of giggles) and made me think. On a universal level, there are so few movies that address the humor and pains of being 40 (The 30 yos get all the fun) so, anyone who is about to turn 40 will find something to relate to in this movie. But on another level, it made me think about what being a black female playwright and poet is like (I'm a white dude), and did so in a way that made me laugh and feel uncomfortable at the same time. That's a rare quality and I feel like a better human being today for it. So, in short - LOVED IT.

leopoldfrank-1 10 October 2020

This movie is absolutely fantastic. It may be 2 hours long but it felt like 1 hour 20. Charming and amusing from start to finish. Really good comedic acting, great direction, full of brilliant one liners and if this was the 90s I'd be buying that OST on cd. 100% a must watch.

spike-51616 13 October 2020

When I first saw this advertised I thought oh wow a refreshing comedy tackling some interesting concepts.

Sure there parts which are touching, funny and insightful but I was left with a sense of disappointment. There were characters who could done with more substance to them and development in the story as a whole. And the chance to developer her art form further was a change that was missed. It could of taken the movie in a refreshing direction.

Overall it worth a watch as it does address some genuine and authentic life experiences.

jimreinhart 10 October 2020

As a 70-year-old white guy I got to say: wasn't too sure this would be my cup of tea. So glad I saw a high meta score and gave it a shot. It covered so much ground. The star and the supporting cast were fabulous. great humor. Enjoy the movie !!

CinemaSerf 23 October 2020

Radka is a playwright who has somewhat fallen from grace since her first success and as she approaches 40 is having a sort of mid-life crisis - what is she about? What's it all for? How can she become fulfilled? Well - indefatigable, she goes about setting herself up as a rapper and it becomes quite clear to "D" - the young base track layer that she has some skill at it. He even presuades her to do a live gig so perhaps her rather hum-drum, routine, existence might be about to change for the better... ? Well, simultaneously her agent "Archie" (Peter Kim) is trying to get the rather seedy, gay casting-couch merchant "J Whitman" (Reed Birney) to produce her play and the film juggles her rapping and writing aspirations set against her day-job teaching a disparate bunch of students with attitude and talent - but both need to be controlled! At it's best, this is great - the rapping is potent and poetic; the comedy can be funny - if somewhat predictable; and she is an engaging and likeable character. It is, however, far too long and auteur Blank struggles to maintain the pace and focus of the film for much of what just turns out to be a fairly ordinary tale of a single woman trying to recalibrate. I enjoyed it, but it really could have been doing with a more objective hand at the helm.

marmar-69780 13 October 2020

Forty year old version was somewhat dissapointment to me,i just coudnt find any character that was actually likeable or symphatic and because of that i wasnt invested in a story as i wanted when i started to watch this film.Story wasnt nothing great or brilliant but in a first and second act it still had captivating touch around it,but as we were going towards third one everything was starting to become stale and tiresome.I mean who wants to hear a middle aged woman complaining all the time that she is 40 and that she didnt become what she wanted,also im not a good rap expert but honestly she wasnt even that good in such staff,this film was in end a let down in a way

faer_kr 11 October 2020

A dramatic comedy with rap. It is about a woman of almost 40 years old who in the twilight of her failure as a playwright tries to enter the world of rap. The photography is spectacular. In black and white. The address is good. Quality. Entertaining It stays almost all the time, only in two or three lapses it becomes slow. Due to its duration at times it can be a bit overwhelming. The verses are at the moment. Good performances. It talks about how sometimes fears hold us back, how we passively live without experiencing those talents we think we have or what we can exploit. How sometimes you have to sell your talent for pennies to eat. Explorative. Light sexual jokes and others not so much, as well as situations, sarcasm and intelligent comedy. Try to be profound without being pedantic. The problem is that inside everything it becomes hackneyed by how they try to put a little romance in it. An extraordinary option if you like smart movies or rap.

tyquezb-13107 13 October 2020

This is a mildly interesting movie about a woman trying to reach her ambitious goals before middle age. The struggle of the character is the typical one of mid life frustration that everyone goes through in their own way between forty and fifty. As an artist, the protagonist seems to want to be famous more than she wants to produce great art and this is demonstrated by her willingness to use any form or style that might bring her popularity. There are some funny scenes, but overall I didn't find this movie especially deep or insightful.

deborah-99172 10 October 2020

Dang, Radha Blank slays in this movie about a black woman playwright trying to keep her voice and be a success. It made me think about so many of my friends in decades past -- talented black women playwrights, directors and actors who made brilliant work but weren't heard or known on a large scale. This movie speaks for all of them. It speaks to me, as an aging creative person. Watch it for the sharp dialogue, compelling characters and joy of seeing a talented black woman saying her truth.

marcin-65323 12 October 2020

This story sounded promising, but I found it a let-down. The central character is a playwright who was much-praised in her youth, winning awards, and at nearly forty has a fulfilling teaching job. She is nevertheless resentful because she lacks the success that eludes most writers and because she is ageing at the normal rate. She complains about this in rap as well as in other forms of communication, and she blames society for the fact that she is not recognized as the genius she believes herself to be. Based on the writing skills displayed in the rap, the audience will have to take her word for it. A lot of depictions of middle aged women show them as whiny and pathetic, and sadly that's the case here.

ks-60500 7 November 2020

Probably the Roma Oscar lead to the decision. It makes the movie more impressive ? I don't know. It's a good production for a 40 yo woman story. Is it the black white cuz the lighting can be cut?

Movie Scene

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