Reviews of movies and TV focused on women

Review: Jean of the Joneses

Taylour Paige in Jean of the Jones

Jean of the Joneses features a stellar cast in a drama about a family full of women and secrets. The secrets come out, as they must, at a time of crisis in the family. Stella Meghie wrote and directed this darkly comedic story of family dysfunction. It is now streaming on Hulu and Prime Video.

Jean of the Joneses stars Taylour Paige as Jean. When the film begins she’s moving out of her boyfriend Jeremiah’s (François Arnaud) apartment. She’s a mess about this breakup and has nowhere to live. She moves from one family member to another in search of a bed.

Jean wrote a best seller a couple of years ago. She’s now two years behind of delivery her next book and gets dropped by her publisher. She went to her grandmother’s (Michelle Hurst) for a family dinner and learned something that made her other problems seem less important.

Erica Ash, Sherri Shepherd, and Gloria Reuben in Jean of the Jones
left to right is Anne, Maureen, and Janet with her two kids

Before I describe what happened at the family dinner, let’s meet the family. Grandmother is the matriarch. Her daughters are Jean’s mom Maureen (Sherri Shepherd), Anne (Erica Ash) – a nurse, and Janet (Gloria Reuben) – a business women with a husband and kids. Each of these characters is individually drawn and distinct, a tribute to the quality of writing that went into the film.

Okay, back to the family dinner. Jean answers the doorbell. A man asks for Maureen and when Jean calls her grandmother to the door, the man falls dead on their doorstep. He turned out to be Jean’s grandfather. For years, the story was that he deserted them all and went back to Jamaica.

Like so much of what these women told each other, that story was not true. As they go through the steps of figuring out who he was, where he was all these years, and how to get him buried the secrets come spilling out.

Jean rides in the ambulance with the paramedic Ray (Mamoudou Athie) when the grandfather’s body is taken away. That sparks a new romantic interest for her. He figures in her eventual success at getting her act together.

The actors in these roles were so good at giving each character a barbed secret and a unique personality. The dialog was crisp and fast as years of family history and dynamics were revealed in every line.

This film is a few years old, so you may have already seen it. If not, it’s worth watching.

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