Gold is molded in the fire and greatness is molded in the furnace of adversity. That is the philosophical theme that summarizes the incredible boxing film called “Lola.” Lola is a cinematic achievement. The movie is currently streaming on Tubi and it was written and directed by the award-winning filmmaker Antoine Allen. As a fan of boxing movies, I was excited to view “Lola.” The punches, both physical and emotional, in and out of the ring took me completely by surprise. The Redemptive drama is character driven. It’s also directed in a down-to-earth style, with a nice even pace. “Lola” is an ode to everyone who has beaten the odds and prevailed. The script is elevated by great direction and fantastic performances. Actress Taja V. Simpson delivers a knockout performance as the lead character Lola. Ms. Simpson is best known for her current role on Tyler Perry’s hit TV show “The Oval.”
The film is about a determined young lady who is a free spirit, but who encounters much hardship stemming from her troubled relationship with her dad (played by Nakia Dillard) and her roller coaster relationship with her girlfriend Stephanie (played by Jennifer Figuereo). She is no stranger to life’s hard lessons, which teaches her to be triumphant when obstacles are placed in her path, However, Lola endures a life altering traumatic experience that causes her to look into her soul and examine her existence. As we first encounter our protagonist, she is engaged in an intense, and sensual love making scene with her girlfriend. But, her father bursts in on the two of them and he becomes enraged. He kicks Lola out of his house. She goes to stay with her sister, where she faces harsh criticism from her sister’s husband.
To release the stress and tension she’s been dealing with, Lola decides to go out on the town to a dance club with her girlfriend, her girlfriend’s brother and the brother’s best friend. In the club, Lola encounters a dark stranger, who tries to hit on her and who makes unwanted advances towards her. She ends up slapping him. The man follows her to the bathroom and brutally rapes Lola. The scene is gut wrenching. We later learn that the rapist was captured and arrested. However, Lola is scarred for life.
We witness her suffering and her pain following the traumatic experience. Lola is emotionally and physically hurt. Prior to the rape, Lola met a young man named David (Merson Narcisse) in a cafe who told her about a self-defense course he offers. After considerable thought, Lola decides to follow up with the self-defense training. David is a boxer himself, who trains in his mother’s gym. David’s mom (Marishka Phillips) is not happy with him training Lola. However, he eventually becomes Lola’s boxing mentor and he helps her to endure and persevere.
Some people are “Soul Stars.” Soul Stars are those POSITIVE individuals who enrich your soul with knowledge and uplift your spirit with encouragement. But on the other hand, some folks are “Blessing Blockers.” BLESSING BLOCKERS are those NEGATIVE individuals who debase your soul with ignorance and bring down your spirit with discouragement. David assembles a training team and surrounds Lola with a special crew of Soul Stars.
The training sequences feel real and authentic. There are strong supporting performances throughout the film. The movie creates an emotional echo chamber that resonates with the viewer. The blows that Lola suffers inside the ring are mirrored by what happens on the outside. Lola channels impassioned and unrestrained rage and converts it into triumph. She is fighting for her pride, and her dignity. In a way, she is fighting for all young women who have faced adversity. Boxing gives Lola a sense of purpose.
There are several life lessons that one can take from viewing and analyzing the “Lola” movie. Overcoming hardship builds great character. Strength grows out of struggle. Before you can knock down the walls of SUCCESS, you must knock down the walls of fear and self-doubt within your mind. Bigger Battles are won as a result of smaller victories. An effective game plan includes a combination of short term and long-term strategies. Lola teaches us to learn how to “Lose” gracefully and study how to “Win” humbly. But, always strive to “Make History!” I give Lola a rating of 4 stars out of 5. “Lola” is a winner on multiple levels. Director Antoine Allen has a very bright future on the horizon.