Movie Review: Naming Number Two

Naming Number Two is a film from New Zealand directed by Toa Fraser.  It is about about an old woman, Nanna Maria (Ruby Dee), who, following a dream, commands her grandchildren to throw a giant feast for her.  She tells them that she wants them all there for the feast, where she will name her successor, who she calls her "number two".

I was surprised by the amount of awards and good press this little film was getting.  It won the 2006 Sundance World Cinema Audience Choice award, and also won several awards and nominations in New Zealand as well.  In my opinion however, Naming Number Two was one of the worst films I had seen in a long time.  The acting was terrible, the storyline was boring, and the cinematography was horrendous (someone needs to teach the DP how to properly light a scene, and more importantly, how to focus the camera).  This film was oozing with cheesy montage scenes and shots of Nanna Maria staring off crazily into space.  On a good note, the one thing that did impress me was where Fraser was trying to go psychologically with Nanna Maria's character.  I felt, however, that the execution of that character portrayal got lost in the over dramatic rolling montages of the film.

Naming Number Two has the feel of a made for TV Hallmark movie.  It is slow, cheesily dramatic, and reveals way too much information, leaving very little for the audience to think about or deduce on their own.

/Film Rating: 1.5 out of 10