MVFF Review: Second Coming

MVFFWatching the first 99% of Second Coming is a somewhat pleasant experience. The cinematography is beautiful, with some excellent, tense long takes and a tight, cramped focus in a small apartment that accentuates the intensity of the lives of the three main characters. The performances are strong and full of passion or subtle and full of nuance whenever appropriate. And the viewer is moving along, thinking that this will be a pretty solid drama with just a few lulls and some issues with the main character’s meekness, but still worth it for Idris Elba. Then, in the last 15 seconds of the film, the entire experience is destroyed. The final shot of Second Coming is so infuriatingly unnecessary and poorly set up, that when it shifts the meaning of the entirety of the film before it, one cannot help but wonder if the filmmakers had no idea what they were doing. A film that could have been about something immediately loses its topic. A film that may have been trying to say something immediately loses its voice.

Second Coming

Second Coming is the story of Jax, played by Nadine Marshall, who finds out that she is pregnant, but the time period around the conception of her baby is impossible, since she has not been having sexual relations with anyone. She has been, however, cold to the advances of Mark, played by Idris Elba (Thor, “The Wire”), her husband (or maybe boyfriend) and the father of their 11-year old son JJ, played by Kai Francis Lewis. She has a history of miscarriages, so while simultaneously struggling to understand how she became pregnant, Jax also worries about whether the child could be brought to term and whether she wants it to do so. Jax spends the majority of the film venting to her friend and coworker at her job, arguing with Mark, scolding JJ, and having dreams about rain coming down on her in her bathroom.

Most of the film takes place in the time period of the pregnancy, moving forward at intervals to introduce new complications in Jax’s life as well as new intensity to her dream of the rain, which is there to give the audience a gauge of her mental state. Jax, Mark, and JJ have a complex intimacy in their small apartment, which provides ammunition for multiple confrontations. The most striking of those comes in the best shot of the film when Mark puts together that he could not possibly be the father of the upcoming baby and screams at Jax while JJ looks on. When not focused on the interaction of these three characters, though, Second Coming has a tendency to meander and drag. At the end of the film, the child has been born and we see Mark, Jax, and JJ celebrating the 1st birthday of the baby girl with the entire family, closer together than they had been before.

If it were to just be a family drama about the issues around what is apparently an immaculate conception, Second Coming could have been okay. There would have remained a mystery about whether the pregnancy was a stress-induced, false one. Perhaps there was a sleep-sex situation going on. It really wouldn’t matter, as the conception part only comes around a few times and the drama plays out fine between all of the characters based on their character alone. However, instead of leaving the audience with some questions or maybe something to discuss with some friends, this film makes a point to shut down any of that and deliver an explicit verification of its previously unmentioned supernatural element. By doing so, it fails. Not for having this content, but for treating its audience like idiots by dragging them around for 100 minutes with a small story about a small family in a small apartment and then trying to be a huge story with a huge reveal with practically no set up in the last 15 seconds. Second Coming will certainly give its audience something to discuss afterward: That one scene in the kitchen is so good; then everything is ruined by how terrible it is to watch Second Coming.

Second Coming 1


I like to be challenged to think about things, so I studied Philosophy in college. Now I am paying for it.

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