A struggling playwright decides to reinvent herself as a rapper in “The Forty-Year-Old Version,” this year’s winner of Sundance’s Directing Prize. Written and directed by Radha Blank, the comedy tells the story of Radha (Blank), a New Yorker determined to have a creative breakthrough before 40. A trailer just dropped for the Netflix pic.
Radha was featured in Spotlight Magazine’s 30 under 30 Playwrights to Watch list, but in the decade or so since, she’s fallen off the radar, and is getting by with teaching unimpressed students who are convinced they have nothing to learn from someone as unsuccessful as her.
Desperate to figure out a way to connect with audiences, Radha wonders if she needs to write a “slave musical” or an “all-white play” to get the recognition she’s been looking for. Instead, she decides to try her hand at rapping. “I want to make a mix tape about the 40-year-old woman’s point of view,” she explains before writing a song about dry skin and yawning.
“‘The 40-Year-Old Version’ gave me a place to work through a lot of my grief from losing my mother and get over my fears around turning 40, but the movie also gave me a chance to insert a not-often-seen character into the canon of New York stories,” Blank told us ahead of the film’s world premiere at Sundance. “I’m a native New Yorker and just wanted to celebrate that.”
You can catch “The Forty-Year-Old Version” on Netflix beginning October 9. The pic marks Blank’s feature debut.