21 Dec 2021
Joy France, Damani Dennisure, Lee Dunn
A late-middle-aged woman decides to take part in a rap battle event.
This fifteen-minute long documentary follows Joy France, who is in her early sixties, as she challenges herself by doing some rap battling. Having had experience as a performance poet and a festival performer, France does something rather unusual, which is entering an activity that is almost entirely occupied by young individuals.
The documentary begins with France talking about herself, about who she is, about her past and why she does what she does. Her experiences as a poet inspire her to try a bit of rapping and she begins her preparations for the rap battle, along with the help of others. When the big day comes, she is ready and holds nothing back.
Arguably, the highlight is the rap battle itself. Joy finds herself in front of a crowd and opposite her rival, who is a young man. The rapper goes first and proceeds to sing heavy insults to her, however she is undeterred and when her turn comes, she unleashes her own verbal abuse.
Unsurprisingly, since a rap battle involves rappers singing lyrics that insult the opponents, there is a great deal of profanity involved during the rapping. Of course, neither Joy nor the guy mean any of it, but it is likely that some viewers will find the vocabulary offensive.
The main focus here is a fish-out-of-water situation, that being a woman who is getting old appearing in a rap battle and doing a good job at it. Depending on a person's sense of humour, it is amusing watching her as she comically raps insults, while a crowd of youths cheers her on. Generally, the mood is light-hearted throughout, although there are also moving moments.
As for Joy herself, she comes across as a likeable and friendly person. She is an everyday individual who decided to try something new, challenge herself and gain a memorable experience.
Due to the strong language, this documentary is not for everyone, however it provides an interesting and thoughtful viewing. It is about self-discovery and it promotes the idea of exploring new ventures and the opinion that when people believe in themselves, they can achieve their goals.