Black Cake

Black Cake

TV-MA

hulu

A compelling mystery family drama that gives justice to the bestselling novel

The Very Best

8.0

TV Show

United Kingdom, United States of America
English
Drama
2023
Adrienne Warren, Ashley Thomas, Cara Horgan

TLDR

I hope to see Mia Isaac in more roles like these.

What it's about

After years of estrangement, siblings Benny and Byron Bennett meet again to figure out their mother Eleanor’s puzzling inheritance: a traditional Caribbean recipe of black cake, and the untold, shocking stories of her journey from the Caribbean to America.

The take

We don’t really know our parents the same way they know about us. Black Cake recognizes this, and takes that discrepancy to create a compelling mystery, expanding on that hidden world with themes of generational trauma, intercultural dynamics, and lost heritage. With the show doing justice to the book’s moments, the mystery of Eleanor Bennett’s former life is already compelling in and of itself, but it’s made even more so as her children try to make sense of it, changing their strained dynamic. It’s layered, well-written and deeply personal. It’s a unique story that has to be told.

What stands out

Black Cake is a melodrama– the events that take place in Eleanor Bennett’s former life means that the show can’t escape this distinction. However, these high-emotion moments feel grounded in a way other melodramas aren’t. The entire narrative was inspired by the original author’s own heritage, by her mother’s black cake recipe. The show meets this groundedness with period accurate sets and costumes, but what makes the emotional moments work is rising star Mia Isaac. After her brilliant performances in 2022, she’s an excellent choice for this layered role, and her expressive eyes strike just the right tone for each moment.

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