Justine Image

Justine

By Alan Ng | March 13, 2020

On paper, Stephanie Turner’s Justine really shouldn’t be as good as it is. The story of a mother who neglects her family, but changes her ways after caring for a girl with disabilities, is not necessarily a new one. Turner decides to make an old story new by adding fresh elements and steadfastly holds to a clear vision for her film’s look and tone.

Lisa Wade (Stephanie Turner) is a single mother of two. In fact, Lisa is recently widowed because her husband died in military service for reasons still under investigation. With no real income, Lisa and family are living in the garage of her father-in-law Papa Don’s (Glynn Turman) home. Lisa is under a great deal of stress looking for work and frustrated to no end that the military is dragging its feet investigating her husband’s death.

“…reluctantly agrees to be the nanny of Justine, a young girl with spina bifida. Her job is to care for all of Justine’s physical needs…”

With few jobs available, Lisa reluctantly agrees to be the nanny of Justine (Daisy Prescott), a young girl with spina bifida. Her job is to care for all of Justine’s physical needs seven days a week. Justine’s parents are successful real estate professionals and don’t have the time to be with Justine all day. They are also a little overprotective, keeping Justine out of public school in fear of what the other kids might do or say.

Meanwhile, at home, Papa Don is equally frustrated that Lisa is barely taking care of her own kids and relies too much on him to be the surrogate parent to her children. Taking matters into his own hands, Don goes to counseling at the local VA and brings the kids along in hopes of figuring out a solution to his Lisa problem.

Justine (2020)

Directed and Written: Stephanie Turner

Starring: Stephanie Turner, Glynn Turman, Darby Stanchfield, Josh Stamberg, Cleo King, Daisy Prescott, etc.

Movie score: 8.5/10

Justine Image

"…steadfastly holds to a clear vision for her film’s look and tone."

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  1. Stephen Ward Woolard says:

    SLIGHTY racist? Well, yeah, he didn’t burn a cross in front of someones house or commit a lynching, but I’d stll say that’s an understatement.

  2. frank crowley says:

    it was a fine movie up until the end – the ending was terrible – it left so many things hanging. I was actually angry that I spent so much time invested in the movie – and “Bang” the movie ends leaving me in complete confusion as to what happens!

  3. Robert Harper says:

    I Really loved the movie it made me cry thelittle girl in wheelchair looks just like my daughter the ending was bad though Itvneeded to show if the little girl made it through surgery it didn’t show it The way it went off is there gonna be another movie about it their should be and we don’t even know if the girl made it through surgery or if she died or what please make part 2 it touch my heart so much lil girl acted and did everything just like my daughter and look just like my daughter it was amazing I could not stop crying

  4. Harriet says:

    Although I liked the movie, I didn’t feel any empathy for Lisa. If she had been black and acted like she did, perhaps I would have felt differently, but then again, maybe not. Her behavior towards her kids bordered on neglect. Not only did her husband die but their father as well. She’s a grown woman who, unlike many, did have the support of her father-in-law who she was very rude to throughout the movie. Was there a reason for that? If so, it was never stated so why have the character act that way?

    In many ways, Lisa appeared just as racist as Justine’s father. She didn’t really want to take her kids to work with her the first time. And when she took them with her the next time, it was mostly to entertain her white charge who did seem to enjoy their company. Seems to me she was more maternal toward the white child than her own children.

    Many movies are diverse these days but often it feels like it’s just for the sake of being diverse, not for any particular story point.

    • B Tenorio says:

      I thought the movie clearly portrayed that Lisa was pushing her family away because of her grief and the fact that her children and father in law are obviously going to remind her of (and want to talk about) her husband, who she is desperately trying not to think about. That’s a very common thing that grieving people do, and Justine was an entirely new person in her life that she could let her guard down with because there was no emotional baggage associated with their relationship, just a clean slate. Of course Lisa’s absence from and hostility toward her family for most of the movie is awful, but sadly that’s just the reality of grief for some people. We have to remember that she only lost her husband 4 months ago, so terrible mother or not, it makes sense that she’s still in the depths of grief.
      And side note, other than the before mentioned avoidance of her family, it’s clear that she didn’t want to take her kids to Justine’s house because of the parents. Nanny or not, the parents were excessively adamant about keeping the relationship professional, not changing plans, and being wary of new people. They were ridiculously uptight, regimented, control freaks and had Lisa asked for permission prior, I’m sure they would have said no to her bringing her kids over. They would be upset about having unknown children in their house playing with their daughter, they would be upset that Lisa’s attention wouldn’t be completely on Justine, they would be worried about the kids wreaking havoc I’m sure.. because that’s the kind of people they were. Even though she’s their nanny and any normal person would be all for introducing their kids to new friends, these parents didn’t want socialization, friendships and family type relationships with their staff, and taking your children with you to work would be seen as entirely unprofessional to them.
      By the end of the movie, once Lisa’s emotions are finally unlocked, you can see how proud of her daughter she is as she performs in the hospital. The kids and Don acknowledge that she has been acting entirely differently since the dad died.. why would she be suddenly racist to her own family now after being a good loving mom and wife before hand? That just doesn’t add up, especially because you can tell that she loved (and misses) him desperately. If my husband died, I’m sure I would withdraw from my family as well.. especially his parents.

  5. […] Synopsis: The film follows Lisa Wade, a single mom who is forced to move in with her father-in-law after the death of her husband. She takes a job as a caretaker to Justine, a young girl with spina bifida in what turns out to be a racist household. At first an unlikely pair, the two become friends and ultimately help one another grow and change. READ REVIEW […]

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