The comedy of NBC-TV’s long-running The Golden Girls meets with the edge of AMC’s Breaking Bad as five friends lose all of their retirement savings in a ponzi scheme—so the “nanas” join forces to open a bakery serving pot-infused desserts. When they learn one of them is secretly battling cancer, their quest for success becomes even more imporant—and attracts the attentions of Kingpin Paint, the local drug dealer.
During the press junkets for the Nana’s Secret Recipe, producer and director and Mehul Shah stated he was searching for a project with strong female characters of a certain age, a fun, zany plot, and larger than life villains. And he certainly found it in this stellar debut script by screenwriter Yolanda Avery, an insightful work that reminds of the female-empowering films Steel Magnolias and The First Wives Club. (You can read this interview by The Blacklist on how Shah and Avery came to work together.)
Not only does Avery’s first time screenwriting effort bring on the laughs, it also questions the importance of friendship and sisterhood, the art of using humor to get through difficult times, and the hard questions about the legalization of medicinal marijuana and how to pick up life’s pieces and move on after the loss of a loved one.
The under-the-radar cast of Linda Bradshaw, Cinda Donovan, Nancy L. Gray, Trish Powell, and Charlotte White are simply amazing. Not only are they each fantastic at their craft, it’s heartwarming to see not only unknown actors, but older unknown actors, being giving such a stellar showcase for their talents. If Nana’s Secret Recipe doesn’t prove to be each of their respective calling cards to the industry . . . then screenwriting guru William Goldman’s insight about Hollywood was right: “Nobody knows anything.”
It is my sincere belief we will see each of them on a network or cable comedy or drama—more sooner than later. And Nana’s Secret Recipe is prime fodder for The Hallmark Channel. Simply put: these actresses and this movie deserves the widest exposure possible.
After a successful film festival run, Nana’s Secret Recipe made its free-with-limited-ads stream this March on TubiTv. It’s an amazing indie film and comes highly recommended. Update: As of May, you can stream the film ad-free via Amazon Prime.
You can learn more about the film on its official Facebook page and the website for Kenetik Films. If you hang out with director Mehul Shah on his You Tube page, you can enjoy a couple of informative film festival Q&A’s with the film’s crew and actors. Also be sure to visit the “real” Nana’s, which was shot at Kellie’s Baking Co. in Austin, Texas.
Disclaimer: We didn’t receive a screener copy of Nana’s Secret Recipe from the film’s PA firm or distributor. We discovered this movie all on our own and genuinely enjoyed the film.
About the Author: You can read the music and film reviews of R.D Francis on Medium and learn more about his work on Facebook. He also writes for B&S About Movies.