Award winning actress Alfre Woodard stars in Netflix’s latest drama, “Juanita”

On March 8, Netflix released its latest drama, “Juanita,” based on Sheila Williams’ novel “Dancing on the Edge of the Roof,” starring four-time Emmy Award-winning actress Alfre Woodard. Woodard plays the main protagonist, Juanita, a single mother with an active imagination and a desire for adventure. (Photo provided by writer)

On March 8, Netflix released its latest drama, “Juanita,” based on Sheila Williams’ novel “Dancing on the Edge of the Roof,” starring four-time Emmy Award-winning actress Alfre Woodard. Woodard plays the main protagonist, Juanita, a single mother with an active imagination and a desire for adventure. Juanita is quirky and is not afraid to speak her mind.

Tired of caring for others, Juanita decides to leave her children-- who are old enough to take care of themselves-- to embark on a new adventure. With little cash, her belongings and a map, Juanita takes a Greyhound bus to Butte, Montana.

When she first arrives in Butte, Juanita fears that she made the wrong decision of leaving her old life behind, but soon meets a local truck driver that goes by Pebbles (Ashlie Atkinson). Pebbles introduces Juanita to a diner that serves the best breakfast in Butte. However, the food was far from what Juanita wanted.

Confident in herself, Juanita challenges the young head chef, Jess (Adam Beach), to cook breakfast to her liking. Surprised by the number of customers who favored the taste of Juanita’s breakfast, Jess hires Juanita as the chef. Juanita and Jess fall in love as they started spending more time together; and her life seems to be falling into place. However, Juanita’s time in Butte is short as she craves more adventure.

Woodard did an excellent job of portraying a strong, independent, witty black women. Very quick on her feet, Woodard delivered punchlines and interacted with the camera – she literally spoke to the camera in the film. Her musical outbursts and fantasizing of Blair Underwood showed that older women have fun too. “Juanita” is the type of film that will inspire many women to take chances, no matter their circumstances. Many individuals looking for a fresh start can relate to this film. Juanita was determined to put herself first and it resulted in her experiencing something she never thought she would.

Though the film has a great message, the plot is unrealistic. The first half of the film kept me engaged, but the plot became dull after. Jess and Juanita’s story was not touched upon in the film, it was as if they just fell in love with each other overnight. The plot became predictable, like in most romantic dramas, after the two met.

Overall, “Juanita” has 63 percent on Rotten Tomatoes and 8.3/10 rating on IMDb, which is fairly decent. If you have an hour and 20 minutes to spare and love watching a protagonist discover themselves, “Juanita” is definitely a film to check out.

Rating: 3.5/5


Cindy Lam is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached at cindy.lam@uconn.edu.