A Review on Guava Island

Two weeks ago, hit music artists Rihanna and Childish Gambino formally known as Donald Glover, along with Glover’s production team, recently released the film Guava Island, a musical love story starring Donald Glover playing radio musician Denni Maroon and hit legendary artist Rihanna playing Kofi, Donald Glover’s love interest.  

From the start, this movies echoes jungle fever with the richness of the island, palm trees and the town.  This past weekend, I was able to finally catch it on Amazon. While this movie didn’t get much air time leading up to its release, it’s currently rated 7.1/10. So, here’s what I thought.


  • Synopsis

For one, the storyline starts off chronologically with Kofi Novia (Rihanna) narrating her childhood and meeting her love interest Denni Maroon one night playing the guitar. However, after Denni’s serenade, there is a fast-forward to adult Denni and Kofi cohabitating (shacking up) in a semi apartment building. From there, it seems the story starts moving at a snail’s pace before speeding up. I’m not sure whether or not this was the best set up however, I  honestly felt the storyline had enough drama to at-least be an hour and a half long, but what we did get was pretty intense. 

  • Graphics

This film’s lack of use of artificial lighting and editing with scenes brought raw authenticity to the screen. When watching, I actually felt as though I was in Guava Island and not watching studio animation and artificial lighting. Raw island freshness comes to life in this story. However, this is due to the entire film being shot on the island of Cuba according to Variety. 


  • The Plethora of Woke Moments

Now, though many films have their “woke moments” that shift the energy and sometimes make us a little uncomfortable,  Guava Island’s woke moments may be the best I’ve seen in awhile. When main character Denni questions the politics of society, he says “In the end what else do we have but dreams. Guava is no different than any other country. America is a concept…same system everywhere in the world.” When I heard this, I had to pause the movie for a second to think. Is America just a concept? Do other countries merely place America on a pedestal because of money and race? These were the questions that pretty much stuck with me the entire time and even had me wondering if the grass is really green outside the island. #extra woke

Besides this, Donald Glover returns to the narrative that many citizens in impoverished areas with dictatorships face. In fact, many of the people on Guava Island were underpaid factory workers in a place that had little remnants of democracy. Furthermore, inclusion of the community reminds me of the real-life situations in the world that can be said to mirror what goes on in Guava Island. #woke

  • Last but not least, the music was everything

Much of the soundtrack in this movie featured Childish Gambino’s greatest hits such as “This is America,” “Feels Like Summer,” and “Summertime Magic.” The springy tunes with its island feel echoes vacation vibes and were somewhat soothing. In addition, hearing “This is America” at the factory scene which quickly turned into a musical echoed the realities of people of color in our world while also having an upbeat tempo.              Furthermore, this film with its eye-catching scenes, woke moments and hit songs made it a force to be reckoned with. So, guys in your free time, make sure to check out Guava Island on Amazon, because who doesn’t love a love story?