Friday, February 19 drama film The Violent Heart premieres on Demand and in theaters.
The film, written and directed by Kerem Sang, takes place in a small town in Tennessee and explores the nuances of love and the different forms it takes both good and bad. A teenage girl falls for a slightly older man in their small southern town but their worlds and differences seem to clash however, it is also what unites them.
Cassie is a white teenage girl who lives a sheltered life in her hometown in comparison to Daniel’s who on the surface is her opposite. Daniel is a Black man whose life has been filled with trauma and grief due to the unsolved murder of his sister and the time he spent in prison. The unlikely couple shows the unpredictable nature of love and how love can go beyond the restraints of race, religion, and class.
Outside of Cassie and Daniel’s relationship with one another their familial relationships explore the bonds and love shared between family and the dysfunction that comes with familial dynamics. Actor Jahi Di’Allo Winston plays Daniel’s teenage brother Aaron in the film. He tapped into the feeling of being misunderstood in order to develop the layers of his character. He filmed most of his scenes with Jovan Adepo and Mary J Blige (who plays Nina in the film) and the chemistry the three shared shows in their scenes with telling the story and grief of the Harris family.
For actor Lukas Haas Joseph presented the challenges of capturing the complexities of humanity within one character. Joseph is Cassie’s father and through his relationship with his daughter, the character’s ability to be simultaneously warm and kind to his daughter in one aspect but cold to others shows the reality that good and bad don’t always exist within a strict binary.
For both actors, Kerem’s writing and directing influenced their work on screen, and the well-written and well-layered characters they depicted were approachable because of Kareem’s work. Viewers can explore the many forms love takes and the meaning of it with The Violent Heart.