For some reason, I thought this movie would be a tragic story about two star-crossed lovers from different cultures torn apart by circumstances. This movie is not that. Instead, it’s an often humorous story about a guy from Brooklyn, African-American Khalid, who is a screw-up. Through Facebook, he met a much older woman who lives in Romania who promised him $500 to travel there. He quits his barista job and burns his bridges.

Upon arriving in Sozopol, Khalid is met with a heartbreaking twist-his Sugar Mama has passed away. Left with no money, friends, or a place to stay, he sleeps rough on the beach. The next day, he discovers his passport and baggage are missing. Despite these setbacks, Khalid’s resilience shines through as he tirelessly seeks work, refusing to give up.

In this town, few have ever seen a black face before, and he does face prejudice. Finally, the older woman’s son gives him a job on his boat; he seems to be the wealthiest guy around, with businesses everywhere. Khalid, with his positive and friendly demeanor, works hard and does a good job, but when it comes time to get paid, the man insults and demeans him, and Khalid stalks off unpaid. In his interactions with the town’s people, Khalid’s open and friendly nature starts to warm them up. He returns to the travel agent, Ina, who advised him that she couldn’t book any ticket without a passport.

They become friendly and soon open a small open-air restaurant where Khalid makes Brooklyn-style food. The food goes over well, and plans are made to expand and add music, but the rich man feels they are trying to compete with him and does his best to shut them down. He is also Ina’s ex, so jealousy is evident. When Ina gives Khalid an important job that will determine the fate of their business, we wonder if he will revert to his screw-up ways or if he has finally found his purpose and genuine love.

Crystal Moselle, a seasoned director with HBO’s Betty to her credit, brings her wealth of experience and professionalism to the film. Derrick Harden, in his directorial debut, also impresses with his work. Their collaboration on this movie not only leaves me eagerly anticipating their future projects, but also instills a sense of excitement in the audience about the potential of their future works.

Directed by Derrick B. Harden and Crystal Moselle

Cast: Derrick B. Harden as Khalid

Irmena Chichikova as Ina

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