Now that it's a cold-hard fact that Moonlight is the Best Picture to come out of Hollywood in the past year (and, truthfully, longer), it's time to embrace the other sides of the director Barry Jenkins' impressive filmography.
Medicine for Melancholy is the first feature film from Jenkins, who was only 29 at the time of its release. The film takes place in San Francisco and follows around two twentysomething single Black residents of the city, Micah (Wyatt Cenac) and Jo' (Tracey Heggins), as they build a brief but intimate relationship together, hinged by their insightful conversation and reactions to the increasingly gentrified city that they live in. They ask each other questions like, "Who gives a shit what society thinks?" and whether or not it matters that Jo dates a white man. Their answers are telling and their non-answers even more so. It's quietly impactful, which is now Jenkins' specialty.
Like Moonlight, the film is about race, relationships, urban life, and love. Like Moonlight, it was made on a modest budget. Extremely modest for film, even an indie one, coming in at $15,000. Like Moonlight, it was filmed in a very short amount of time (only 15 days), which shows the true talent of the cast who dive headfirst into the characters Jenkins has created for them.