TV Review: ‘When Love Kills’

Lil Mama and Lance Gross star in the film.

Lil Mama gave this role everything she had, and we can tell.

It isn’t easy playing a stripper turned prostitute turned murderer but Lil Mama did it and she made it look easy.  While the hip hop dancer struggled to find the fluidity in her stripper dance moves she successfully delivered the emotion and vulnerability of an abused woman.  The film also featured a couple of exciting celebrity cameos.

 When Love Kills The Falicia Blakely Story is based off the true life story of Falicia Blakely, an Atlanta woman from the early 90’s who was convicted of killing three men. Blakely is currently serving a life sentence for her crime.

The cast is star studded and includes a couple of celebrity cameos.  Rapper Lil Mama who now goes by her government name, Naitia Kirkland, plays Blakely.  Tami Roman of Basketball Wives stuns the audience with her performance playing Falicia’s abusive and alcoholic mother, Stacey.  Heart throb actor Lance Gross plays Big Dino, Falicia’s abusive partner and pimp.

The made for TV movie opens up with a monologue from Kirkland foreshadowing by the end of the story someone will fall victim to the bullet spewing from her pistol.  Kirkland gives an epic performance and effortlessly transitions from playing a young and naïve teenager to a killer.

The most heart wrenching scene was between Big Dino ( Gross ) and Falicia (Kirkland). Dino manipulated Falicia into doing his dirty work as a pimp. He slowly recruits Falicia to begin prostituting herself and to play madam to the girls he pimps.  Once her prince charming, Big Dino begins to show his true colors and starts hitting Falicia any time she refuses to comply or questions his motives.  It was a little difficult to see Gross in such a sinister role, considering he is known for playing the nice guy.  During one scene Gross douches her in alcohol and threatens to set her on fire.  The fear in Kirkland’s eyes will have chills running up your spine but Gross’ performance leaves the audience wondering, if he would really set Kirkland on fire.

Cameos from New Orleans bounce sensation Big Freedia and boxing champion Floyd Mayweather served their purpose.   It added familiar faces to the film and considering they played characters close to themselves it made the film more believable.

Tami Roman shocked the audience with her performance. Roman started out as an actor in the 90’s but quickly fell into the world of reality television, but it wasn’t for a lack of talent.  Roman’s character Stacey was easy to hate because of the way she verbally abused her daughter. But at the same time she was relatable as a mother who made plenty of mistakes but ultimately wanted the best for her daughter.

The film was directed by actor Tasha Smith who is no stranger to drama films. Smith directed the film so it was easy to follow and she made sure it drummed up plenty of emotion. There are moments in the film where you can’t help but to laugh but should be crying.

Kirkland is becoming quite the thespian, but her dancing scenes were awkward and painful to watch. (Her wig was painful to see as well.)  She may need to take few more trips to Atlanta’s strip clubs before she tries to take on her next stripper role.

The show premieres Monday at 10/9 c.

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