In between cooking, feasting and spending...(I'on like that) I found some time to watch a movie. Does anyone else use the holidays to catch up on movies and shows? I tend to watch movies that I've put on the back burner. However, I don't know why I took so long with this one because it was definitely a gem. I heard good things about when my friend suggested several months ago. So tuck this one in the cut for "go to" movies when you're having family and friends over.
Uncorked originally premiered on Netflix in March of 2020. It had a two known legends Courtney B. Vance (Louis) and Niecy Nash ( Silvia) and introduced me to some fresh faces such as Sasha Compere (Tanya) and Bernard David Jones (JT). Although I've seen Mamoudou Athie (Elijah) play in an Amazon's Black Book and also Netflix's The Get Down, I'd say he gave me a fresh set of eyes playing this role. It was more personable and intimate, in the sense of seeing him in another light.
Elijah, played by Athie, has a dream to pursue a career as a sommelier (a knowledge and servant of wine) but it disappoints his father ( Courtney B.Vance) plans on him taking over the family barbecue business. Now Elijah is faced with letting down his father's legacy or creating his own. This brought a lot of questions in my mind about family traditions, family stigmas and how they can affect who we are as people. A lot of the reasons of how and why we are who we are is contributed by our family upbringing.
Family traditions are great to me when it comes to family. I believe it establishes bonds, memories and purpose when it comes from a place of symbolic and meaning. Elijah's father, Louis, understands what his father went through to establish his own business and keep it open as a black man in his era. Even though Louis had his pursuit to be a teacher, he saw the meaning and purpose of caring on his father's legacy of the barbecue restaurant. So it's only right to believe Elijah would want to pass this along. However, some traditions aren't just about passing it along. I get i... with Louis only having two heirs, one being of a daughter who couldn't find the kitchen if it had the 3 red dots in front of it, who else is going to run this when he's gone?
But a business isn't just something you run without the passion being invested too, even if the passion comes from wanting to build a family legacy, honoring your father or just making ends meet. Ultimately it has to be some kind of driving force right? I mean how far would Louis' restaurant make it if Elijah just ran because he felt obligated? Would he expand, become more versed or would he just do the bare minimum?
We have to understand that we can't live through our offsprings because they don't owe us anything, but we owe them everything that's going to help benefit them when we're gone. Louis did that by teaching Elijah the family business. He gave Elijah something that he has with him always and could potentially be something he ends up doing. He taught Elijah how to run a business, be self employed and the outcome of hard work and consistency. Elijah's mother, Silvia (Niecy Nash) taught him how to not give up on yourself even if everyone else does. Now whether his parents got to see the immediate effects Louis saw when it was needed.
These are the traditions that we overlook. Yes, it's great to pass along family remedies, recipes and gatherings but the traditions of having a solid sense of self and self love is what we should be passing along. However, what seemed to be the constant tone between Elijah and Louis was the stigmas they placed on each other. Stigma, according to Google's Oxford Languages, is a mark of disgrace associated with a particular circumstance, quality, or person. Elijah stigma of his father is that he's stuck in his ways, doesn't have culture and possibly resentful towards not being able to follow his dreams or visions. Louis, on the other hand, burdens his son with the stigma of being indecisive, unrooted and lacks stability. These stigmas clearly reflect in their growth or lack there of in regards to themselves as individual and as father and son.
Sometimes the box we put people in can hinder how we grow with them or bond with them. It's like what I discussed in the article I previously wrote about Stop Putting Expectations on Your Family , you can't see who someone truly is if you continue to see who they use to be. Or if you want to see them as the family role you're familiar in seeing them in, then it becomes difficult to allow yourself to view them in any other way.
This movie gave me the perspective of how the lines of traditions and stigmas can easily become blurred with family. Yes, while it's important to keep certain symbolic beliefs and behavior going we have to be mindful on not making those traditions turn from meaningful to a stereotype. We have to understand that though we are family we are still here for individual purpose and to add to a legacy while building our own. I mean can't both be possible? Do we always have to choose? I started my health journey of being more conscious of the food I eat and not eating meat but that's not a custom that is widely shared through my family. I mean what's a Thanksgiving or Christmas meal with no meat and more healthier food, right? But why can't I add to the traditions? Why can't there be a least one vegetarian or vegan dish to start a tradition of implementing more health conscious dishes?
Is it possible that Louis could of supported Elijah as a sommelier and gave room to the idea that this could be an added featured to the business? I mean I wouldn't turn down some barbecue paired with a nice wine. If you want to know if Elijah won or Louis then you have to make time to watch Uncorked streamed on on Netflix. I couldn't tell you the movie...but I can tell you it's worth a watch. If you've watched it tell me what was your take on it. I personally they both won at the end. Cheers