“Life Support”

Queen Latifah Life Support film

By Jae-Ha Kim
June 28, 2007

Though Queen Latifah is less known for her dramatic skills, films such as Life Support drive home the point that this singer turned actress has the chops to build a serious career in movies.

Thanks to her work on the sitcom Living Single, everyone knows that she’s funny. And musicals such as Chicago and Hairspray prove that her singing talent extends far further than rap.

Here, Latifah captivates the audience with her understated performance.

Based on the true-life story of writer-director Nelson George’s HIV-positive sister, Andrea Williams, Life Support stars Latifah as Ana, a recovering junkie who tries to atone for her seedy past by being a loving mom to her 9-year-old daughter. In addition, she takes care of her husband, who also has HIV.

But Life Support, an AIDS awareness facility that is an integral part of her life, is where Ana feels most at home.

As the movie unfolds, we see how far Ana has come from her rocky beginnings, and how much more she has to accomplish before she can repair the damage from her past.

One that seems irreparable is the sticky relationship she has with her estranged teenage daughter, who lives with Ana’s mother (wonderfully played by Anna Deavere Smith).

While there are some moments in the film that are overly maudlin, giving it more of a Movie of the Week feel than that of a feature film, Latifah’s deft touch–as well as superb acting by the supporting cast–make Ana someone we all would like to help, yet are wary of befriending.


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