Welcome to the Cape of Good Hope, the white name for the bottom
of Africa. Explorers named the cape for their own hopes of finally
getting around Africa to reach India, because they cared little
for Africa and much for spice. They didn’t care for the strange
looking natives, black as the richest soil. Later the traders (whitey)
would concern themselves with the rich natural resources on that
continent: gold, ivory, diamonds, pearls… some even mistook
the natives for natural resources. Their good hope concealed a darker
purpose. Greed had driven all the ventures that sought a water route
to beloved India. By and large they failed, but greed succeeded
all the same, with theft, kidnapping, lies, extortion, murder, war,
disease, conquest, slavery, and genocide. That legacy lives on today.
People have a habit of caring more for dogs than people. Just ask
any bum with a mangy companion.
Good Hope has a more personal meaning for the residents of this
film. Take Kate (Brown), who manages an animal
shelter. Kate hopes for sordid meetings in shabby motels with her
secret lover. Her father left her mother when she was but a lass,
and forever ruined her perception of the ideal man. Oblivious to
the “boy scout” doting upon her, she runs after the
bad boy, a rich man with a penchant for misanthropy. Jean Claude
(Ebouaney) hopes to emigrate to Canada. South Africa
is no place for an educated man with boundless reserves of compassion
to live out his dreams. He has a Ph.D. in astronomy (NOT that zodiac
thing), but is instead viewed only as a pair of strong, skilled
hands. He works at the aforementioned animal shelter and volunteers
at the planetarium. Even though he works a vacuum cleaner the children
love to ask him the secrets of the universe. If you ever need to
know what keeps all matter together, just ask Jean Claude, and he’ll
tell you its love. Gravity is love, which would explain why love
can hurt. And lastly, the impoverished Lindiwe (Moshesh)
hopes to escape shantytown with her family. To this end, she studies
for her college night classes, because she works all day for some
rich fucks (whitey). But whitey shatters her dreams by forcing her
to work during her important test. Oddly enough, her professor didn’t
sympathize (I’d expect more understanding from a fellow black
woman in South Africa). Lindiwe must look elsewhere for hope and
So the point is that all these characters are hoping for the wrong
things. Each needs a solid source of love. Kate needs a good man
despite her bad faith (a Sartre says what?), Jean Claude needs a
family to care for, and Lindiwe needs a father for her son. Get
I need to talk to my agent. Somehow I get all the feel-good movies
that lift your spirits, but I’m already a pretty happy guy.
With so many of these kinds of movies behind me, this flick is like
a drop in a bucket. At least it seemed like a really nice drop.
I expected a little more darkness and suffering given the setting,
but they kept it clean to keep me happy. And I’m glad they
They did not keep me entertained, however. The comedy was spread
rather thin across this picture, with a few little crystals here
and there. Most of the funnies come from the sillier minor characters,
like Habib, Penny, Bruce, and Tupac. That’s right, Tupac.
I just want more funny! Is that too much to ask?
So, if you need something to make you feel like there’s some
good hope in the world, go see this movie. If you want something
funny, witty, entertaining, or otherwise amusing, then this won’t
be the ideal choice.