Karen (2021 BET Movie)

Karen (2021 Lifetime)

Cast: Taryn Manning, Cory Hardrict, Jasmine Burke, Jaxon McHan, Mary Christina Brown, Roger Dorman

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Synopsis (via BET)

When Imani and Malik move into a predominantly white neighborhood, they find themselves at odds with a nosy neighbor who’s more dangerous than she looks.. (2021)

Recap/Wine Thoughts

Oh shit! The movie starts off with a LITERAL Karen (Played by reluctant TV Movie icon Taryn Manning) washing off a Black Lives Matter sidewalk chalk art. (Damn, this movie already went there!) Karen (and her terrible wig) lives in an affluent neighborhood (Harvey Hill Plantation.) and is raising two teenage children. She is not pleased to see a black family moving in.

Malik and Imani move into their beautiful home and have a loving/sexual relationship. (A couple that has sex? Hallmark would never. I’m into it!) They are also trying to have a baby and having difficulty. Their makeout session is cut short by Karen installing a home security system. The camera are pointed at the black family’s home.

Karen is quick with the passive aggressiveness talking to Malik about the HOA violations, telling him she doesn’t keep cash in her home, and… her brother is a cop. (Officer Wind.) Karen vents to her neighbor Jan and BFF, Beth, who understand her frustration. At brunch with the girls, Karen asks a pair of Black co-workers to keep it down, or she will complain to the manager! Which she does anyway. (WHAT! RUDE!)

Karen catches Malik smoking week in his car in the middle of the night and tells him that it will be their little secret. Then, she asks him how he can afford to “infiltrate” the suburban neighborhood. When he tells her that he works at a community center, she condescendingly tells him she is “proud of him.” Karen tells Malik that she is a part of the neighborhood watch and a widow who is a stay-at-home mother. Malik tries to keep things civil while Karen continually belittles him. 

Malik tells Imani about the white entitled neighbor named Karen, who is nosey AF. Then they get undressed and have sexy time; little do they know Karen and her son Kyle are watching from his bedroom. Then Karen watches the security camera with popcorn like it is a damn movie.

Imani decides to handle things herself and visits Karen’s home with a pecan pie. Karen is condescending per usual.

Mailk plays basketball with Kyle, Karen’s son, to get on the family’s good side. When he goes inside the house to wash up, Malik is horrified to see a CONFEDERATE FLAG SOAP DISPENSER and pictures of confederate soldiers all over the house. He tells his wife and is shook. 

In the HOA meeting, Karen brings up her issues with the “African American” neighbors. Jan calls Karen racist, but Karen doubles down, calling them criminals. The HOA is not on board because they don’t want to rock the boat. Also, Karen is Cray Cray. 

For some reason, Malik and Imani invite Karen to a house party. She brings… fruitcake. When Karen arrives, she is surprised to see one of the men from the restaurant. He can’t believe her name is Karen, and she IS a Karen. The party guest discusses Black Lives Matter and Karen is there for the All Lives Matter counterpoint. (Read the room, Karen!!!!) Things get out of hand quickly, and the guest school Karen and then asks her to leave the party.

Malik and Imani argue over inviting Karen to the party. Then it escalates into a discussion about bringing a baby into this world. The dialogue here is a little ham-fisted, but the sentiment is on point. 

Karen’s kid daughter, Sarah, talks to Imani about her black boyfriend and is scared to tell her mother because Karen hates black people. Karen breaks up the conversation and tells Imani to “Stay away from her f***ing family.”

Karen pulls a Karen and accuses a black group of black teens of casing her neighborhood. She calls her cop brother, who is racist as well. The men claim their innocence and record the whole incident on their cellphones. As they are arrested Imani films them with her phone as well and is disturbed that THIS is the neighborhood she moved to. She wants to sell the house and leave Karen behind for a more diverse area. 

The videos go viral, and Karen is removed from the HOA. She isn’t going down and sends her brother after Malik.

The traffic stop scene is disturbing, and scenarios like this have played out. The brother plants drugs on Malik and violently takes him into custody. His rookie office doesn’t go along with it and quits on the spot.

As Imani posts on her blog about what happened, Karen sets off Imani’s car alarm. She wants to make amends and admits to being racist because she doesn’t like crackheads? Karen cries and asks them to leave her neighborhood. Imani decides not to move and lawyer up.

The lawyer is familiar with Karen and has a file on her. Her husband was killed by a black vigilante and lost it. She was making racist remarks at the school that she worked. She was fired. Imani, Malik, and Lawyer Charles are up for the fight. 

Karen’s brother shows up at Malik and Imani’s home with a search warrant. Malik is arrested again but is not booked into the precinct. 

Meanwhile, Karen cuts the power and breaks into Imani’s house with a gun. Imani gets a sword and cuts Karen with it before running UPSTAIRS. Karen staggers after Imani intent to kill. Imani beats the crap out of Karen while screaming, “NOT SO TOUGH WITHOUT YOUR GUN!” and it is pretty cathartic until Karen gets her gun back.

The police arrive and this time they aren’t there to save the day. Karen’s brother doesn’t want to shoot Imani because he was a lot of crap on his record, so Karen shoots Imani instead. The rookie cop is back, and he shoots Karen’s brother. Imani shoots Karen before she can also kill the rookie cop.

Lawyer Charles, Imani, and Malik final a civil lawsuit and rename the neighborhood. The end!

Side Note

BET is not afraid to curse; I like that. Good for them! I also like that they are getting into the TV movie business. They offer a unique perspective and aren’t afraid to take bigger swings than the other networks.

Minority Report: Malik, Imani, Charles, Ben, Jan, Fatima, Justice, Charles, Isaiah, Drew,


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*** I’ve updated the rating system moving forward start 7/26/2021. Knives represent # of kills. Wine is over enjoyment (NOT a value judgment) on a 1-5 scale.

 I will use the following tags for those who want to know watch or skip: Pour it Up (Would Recommend) or Put A Cork In It (Would Not Recommend)

Overall rating

Number of Kills: 

🔪🔪 ( 2 Knives)

Enjoyment Level: 🍷🍷🍷🍷🍷 (5 glasses of wine)

*Photo Credit: © 2021 Lifetime® | A+E Networks®

Live tweet along with @LifetimeUncork using the hashtag #KarenOnBET

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