All of this story sets the stage for a low-key story about lasting friendships in “If Not Now, When?” Friends clash, they reconcile. They are experiencing ups and downs in their romantic relationships. Unfortunately, the drama never comes to life. It’s on strange middle ground where there are no surprises even when there are life-changing revelations. There is a lack of connection even when friends have supposedly let the past go. Between its amateur staging, its pedestrian cinematography and its overly drawn scenario, the story and the visuals do not merge into a story that seems restorative, cathartic or even joyful.
“If not now when?” is the directorial debut of two of his stars, LeSeon Bass and Good. (LeSeon Bass also holds credit for the writing.) And while their intention to bring a well-meaning story about black women and friendships to the screen is admirable, there’s just something missing in the end result. The film borrows heavily from “Waiting to Exhale,” which also follows four career black women, their friendships and love lives, as well as other films about a group of women who don’t always get along but love each other. all the same. At the heart of each of these films is this tension within the strained friendships that come together at the end. Friendships in “If not now, when?” are so strained that even reconciliations don’t seem so different than when we first meet them.
It’s also strange that Good’s character Tyra is essentially isolated from others for long periods of time in rehab. Her Path to Recovery looks and feels like a made-for-television movie about opioid addiction – it’s pretty superficial without going into too much detail. It is as if this is a source of practical conflict, sufficient to develop without digging into it. You expect her to join the group at the end of the movie, but she misses the healing process the other three go through. It doesn’t feel like she’s back in the band, even when they’re celebrating together.