IT MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS OF LUDI!
Ludi is a Haitian nurse living in a Haitian neighborhood in Miami. She is a dedicated worker and desperately needs a side job to send more money to her family who is miles away in her home country. Her neighbor Blanca tells her that she can help with that, but Ludi is reluctant, since her hiring agency doesn’t allow any side jobs besides the one she is already doing in the hospital. But ultimately, Ludi decides to take it, and faces another of her many challenges, as she now has to tend the needs of a grumpy senior, who’s stubborn in not wanting any help, making it difficult for Ludi to do her job, while risking losing her full-time one. Directed by Edson Jean, Ludi serves as a fresh look into the immigration issue of the overflowing of work that lies on the shoulders of this community. Underpaid, exhausted and fighting to provide to her family, Ludi embodies a social metaphor that punches you in the gut with a close fist.
Shein Mompremier is absolutely marvelous in her role, bringing this sense of empathic closure of the audience to feel her struggle and sending vibes of a constant and uncomfortable fear for her character losing her job, even trying to be the best worker she can be. Even if the film could’ve had a little more drama to intensify and enhance the main character’s relationship with her late care receiver George, Ludi never disperses from its main goal. By placing the audience at the center of Ludi‘s main issue and reducing the amount of secondary characters, the film provides its leading star to shine and thrive throughout the many psychologically tough moments. At Mompremier’s side we have Alan Myles Heyman, who makes “Grumpy George” one incredibly memorable character. He is essential in reflecting the hardships of taking care of a person who has lost their sense of companionship, politeness and compassion after his family abandoned him. Ludi really flourishes when focusing on the brief relationship between these two very distinct characters and the results are there for one to reap.
Even if many prefer a happy ending, Ludi is relentless in not doing so. And that makes it a film to be remembered, because it doesn’t fall into the temptation of “fairytaling” its core. Jean and his co-writer Joshua Jean-Baptiste understand that there are not happy endings resulting from pressure and, when you think life gives you easy opportunities, it still has the power of taking them away, despite your honest, most desperate intentions. However, when the film reaches its climax and breaks down George’s character, making him reveal that he is just a lonely man looking to be loved, the film should’ve stick with it for a little longer, so the audience could enjoy even more the affection and endearment rising between the characters. Nevertheless, Ludi is a product that makes its point very clear, and the message of exploiting and taking advantage of hardworking immigrants is still an issue to be adressed throughout the world. It is also a beautiful love letter for the Haitian people, even if a short one, that reflects the struggle of settling down in a new country and having to face the inevitable ups and downs of pursuing the American Dream.
Ludi acts as an open door for a relevant, masterful, and not-so-popular in film representation, message to start ticking the minds of audiences around the world to a global issue, while staying truthful to its roots and giving Shein Mompremier the uplift she needed to pursue her own dreams of being a successful actress. Its third act is absolutely extraordinary and slaps you in the face when you least expect it; this nonlinearity is truly Ludi‘s biggest gutpunch and it’s essential to disrupt this notion that everything we watch has to have a happy ending.
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Original Title: Ludi
Director: Edson Jean
Runtime: 80 min.
Trailer | Ludi