[Boston Underground Film Festival] Cinematic Releases: My Name is Myeisha (2018) Reviewed

Based on the stage play, Dreamscape, this film just stole the spotlight at BUFF.

A teenage girl recounts her life experiences in the powerful statement, My Name is Myeisha. Adapted from the real life story of Tyisha Miller, a girl that died at the hands of police brutality in the ‘90s, a familiar tale is told that will resonate with current tensions and our modern political climate.

A cultural commentary? A hip hop musical? A narrative on the African American experience? Or a time capsule look at the racial tensions of the ‘90s?

Is this a film that captures of all those things in one strange narrative that’s capped by one of the most charismatic female leads we’ve seen in years? The answer is a swift yes. As a different but beautiful piece of indie cinema that’s absolutely captivating in its unique style, My Name is Myeisha takes us back to 1998 as our lead character is assaulted by a vagrant when her vehicle breaks down during Kwanza. A series of events leads to a night of violence. Spending much of the film talking and rapping directly to the camera, actress Rhaechyl Walker steals the entire movie with absolute clarity. Throwing her spitfire attitude and well defined voice at the screen, this theatrical bit of modern poetry shines a light on a problematic subject. And it succeeds in doing so with flair.

Attempting not to spoil anything, My Name is Myeisha is a terrific film that allows a 19 year old girl to look back on the best days of her life. What could almost be compared to a modern but darker version of It's A Wonderful Life, that revels in is attention to '90s details, this deserves all the awards it's receiving. 

Capturing the late ‘90s in stunning detail via era specific clothing, attitude, and musical numbers, director Gus Krieger allows a broad audience to live the black experience through the eyes of his main character and some absolutely stunning cinematography. This project is both beautiful to look at and to listen to. Rendered as a piece of experimental cinema, My Name is Myeisha oozes with character and creativity that further proves that many smaller films can do so much more than the big budget fare we’re consistently beat over the head with.

Often times, stage plays don’t translate to film. Character can be lost. Stories can be downplayed by directors that go for too many effects or over zealous camera work. This is not that. Krieger takes numerous chances with his movie, but they all feel relevant to the story. Sadly enough, the overall message is all too familiar these days as police violence continues to steal innocent black lives. If you have a chance to see this movie, we can’t suggest it strongly enough. It is sure to spawn more debate as the divide continues.