Based on the novel “Cousins” by Patricia Grace, Cousins introduces the touching story of three Maori women who are cousins. The film begins with an older woman walking around a city, lost and unsure of her surroundings. As she walks, various things trigger memories from her past as a young girl. Through revisiting moments from her past, we soon discover her name is Mata. Mata was removed from her family and raised within an orphanage. At a young age, Mata eventually meets some of her own family, including her cousins. The film goes back and forth in time, switching between multiple characters in the past and the present. In the present day, the three women are no longer close. How that happened is thankfully explained as viewers progress through the film and witness their journey in life.
Cousins is, as many would expect, quite a heavy drama film. Filled with touching and powerful performances, I found myself highly engaged. The film doesn’t make much sense right at the start, but as the story progresses, we begin to understand which character. We also thankfully begin to understand critical elements such as why Mata is randomly walking around the city talking to herself. The more the film reveals, the greater understanding we have and the more powerful characters become.
The performances here are tremendous from both the younger and older cast members. I’m confident, based on the talent, that this film will impact its audiences. While the plot is quite gripping and emotional, the pacing is undoubtedly a lot slower than some may prefer. Another questionable element is the way the story goes back and forth from past to present and jumps between several characters. I struggled with this type of pacing and found it hard to keep up with the characters on screen. Again, this will not be everyone’s experience, but this is what occurred for me while watching it for the first time.
Overall, Cousins will undoubtedly touch the hearts of many movie lovers, whether it is due to the solid and unforgettable performances from the actors or the story and journey on-screen. No matter what, this film does leave something inside its audience. Pacing is slightly questionable as the film cuts back and forth from past and present, making it ever so slightly challenging to keep track of characters. No matter, there is an enjoyable strength here reminding us about family and love that will please many. Cousins (2021) is Available on DVD from September 8th!