Einsiders.com: May 18, 2004 by Jonathan W. Hickman
The blues are an ironically beautiful expression of angst. And Rose is able to express her angst through blues so beautifully that it may be the end of her.
“A Single Rose,” screening at Cannes, is an enchanting short film from filmmaker Hanelle M. Culpepper. This is the second of Culpepper’s five short films and made me want to see the others. The story of “A Single Rose” is like a condensed feature film tracking the early years of an African-American beauty named Rose (played young by Bianca Lopez and older by Sonya Y Maddox) who falls for a one-armed charming man named Owens (played young by Lawrence Adisa and older by Russell Andrews). Determined to keep Rose in nice clothes and jewelry, Owens is forced to leave her alone while he earns the money to keep up somewhat lavish lifestyle. Lonely and wanting for something she does not have, Rose seeks refuge nightly at Lola Mae’s, a juke joint.
In time, Rose’s songbird voice and classic beauty draw the attention of gentlemen callers who frequent Lola Mae’s. When Rose gives in to one of the men, she finds herself guilt-stricken. When Owens finally returns home, Rose must confront her indiscretions and address the wanting for fame as a singer away from her hometown. But Owens may have other plans.
“A Single Rose” is billed as a “visual blues song” by the filmmaker and such a description is very accurate. The music is the co-star with performances that don’t disappoint. The looping for the musical numbers is expertly done making the song sequences believable. One set demonstrates that even a hot cup of coffee can be sexy stuff.
Rich with texture and deep with emotion, “A Single Rose” is 19 minutes of beautifully expressed angst.
Atlanta Daily World, Atlanta, GA: July 29, 2004 Masterfully portraying the angst of her spirit, the passion in her heart, and a determination to be loved, Sonya Maddox, as the character “Rose,” pours her soul into the wonderfully scripted Hanelle Culpepper film.