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Berry puts it all on the line


Academy Award winner Halle Berry’s latest flick “The Call” hits the silver screen on Friday. I wasn’t invited to screen the movie–imagine that!–but, like the rest of America, I have seen the trailers and they look as if it may be a real thriller.

Berry stars as a Jordan Turner, a seasoned 911 operator who takes a life-altering call from a teenage girl, played by Abigail Breslin, who has just been abducted. What makes matters worse is that Turner (Berry) has dealt with this deadly kidnapper before, and she’s been carrying around the burden of that fateful encounter ever since. This guy has killed before and Turner may have unintentionally caused the death of the kidnap victim, and she wants to redeem herself.

OK, you kind of get where this story is going. She’s not going to let this current victim die, so she’s going to do everything in her power to stop him.

Added to this quest for justice is the very handsome actor Morris Chestnut (“The Best Man”) who portrays Paul, Jordan’s boyfriend and a veteran police officer who gets mixed into the case as well. Together they work to bring that kidnapper to some kind of justice.

You have to give it to Berry; she keeps working. I call it her “Tina Turner” phase, meaning she’s keeping her skills up to standards, and her name on the silver screen by working in a variety of roles. Girlfriend is working, and taking gigs that might not be Oscar-worthy, or even in the ballpark, but working no less. Remember, as an actor, there are no small parts.

Hollywood is a tough nut to crack. Even if you have an Oscar it can be tough, especially if you’re a Black woman. But Berry is a fighter, and she’s not going to fade into Black until she’s good and ready.

Undoubtedly, one of Hollywood’s most beautiful actresses, Berry has had great acting success in a variety of roles. Berry appeared in the first three X-Men films as Storm, a mutant with the ability to manipulate the weather. And it was recently announced by Director Byron Singer that Berry will reprise her role as Storm in Singer’s upcoming flick, “Days of Future Past,” which is due to begin shooting next month (April).

Berry is willing to takes risks as she explained in a recent press junket interview. “Without a doubt, ‘Monster’s Ball’ was the riskiest, and it took me to the height of my career. I accomplished history with that role. It was proof to me that if something feels risky or scary, then I’m like a moth to a flame. I go right to it. Sometimes it works well and sometimes it doesn’t, ala “Catwoman.” People think, well why did I do that? But again, that was a risk, and sometimes it doesn’t pay off. But I’ve learned that you can’t win big, unless you risk big. That is the only way to win at it.”

She also garnered an Emmy for her portrayal of the famed actress Dorothy Dandridge, who was a risk-taker also, and before her time. Berry not only starred, but was the executive producer of the 1999 TV movie, “Introducing Dorothy Dandridge,” which featured Shonda Rhimes (“Scandal,” “Grey’s Anatomy”) as one of the writers of the teleplay.

Berry reminds me of the “old school” actresses like Bette Davis. You never knew when or where that great, Academy Award-winning actress would show up and deliver a “slamming” performance. I put Berry in that category.

It’s good to see a Black woman starring in a film, and it’s even better that it’s Halle Berry. Don’t miss “The Call” in theaters Friday.

Gail can be reached at