Writer Jean (Taylour Paige) is a bit of a mess. She’s on a break from her boyfriend and can’t deliver on her next book, despite her initial success and promise in the New York writing scene. Her sarcastic aunts Anne (Erica Ash), Janet (Gloria Reuben), and mom Maureen (Sherri Shepherd) verbally spar every minute they get. The family is topped off with Jamaican grandma Daphne (Michelle Hurst), the matriarch who pulls no punches with any of them. When Jean’s grandfather shows up and dies on Daphne’s doorstep, everything goes off the rails. Family secrets reveal themselves as we find out about these women and their chaotic lives, and the heartache from decades ago that is now front and centre.
The plot of Jean of the Joneses sounds intense, but family dysfunction has never been this charming. These women come from the school of tough love under Daphne’s stern eye, but a vulnerability shines through with each of their stories. We also see undeniable chemistry between Jean and Ray (Mamoudou Athie), the paramedic who takes Jean and her grandfather’s body to the hospital. There’s also Toronto-born Gloria Reuben, the critically acclaimed actor from T.V. series E.R. and Mr. Robot, to give us that extra dash of Canadian flavour. Jean of the Joneses was Canadian writer/director Stella Meghie’s directorial debut and since then she has gone on to make the celebrated films Everything, Everything (2017), and The Photograph (2020).