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Seeing the original I Love You Anne cast members on screen in the sequel We Love You Anne, is like seeing members of one’s extended family after a good while. There’s Nice Simon (Anne), Daniel Fils-Aimé (Tonton Bicha), Manmi Kato (Lucienne Laventure), Joseph Zenny Jr, (Jude Dutreuil), Fresnel Larosillière (Pè Demeran), Ruth St. Hubert (Cleantha) as well as welcomed new faces like Gessica Geneus (Sophia Demeran), Reginald Bastien (Gregory Apollon), Nadia (Sandra Lesperance). Richard Senecal, the director who helmed the original also directed the sequel. A Sylvio Tessier is credited with the original script; this one is credited to Dominique Antoine, but thankfully there aren’t any inconsistencies or much continuity issues.

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The characters have grown up considerably, even Anne. She’s no longer the innocent-eyed little high school girl, who had pangs of conscience over deceiving her father about a Fort Jacques excursion. The new Anne has major attitude and more than a flash of rebelliousness to her personality. She will not hesitate to give a rival a piece of her mind, if she feels that lines are crossed. Nor is she one bit hesitant about stopping by Kato’s place for a love session. Gone is the Anne who wore little flowered, silk pajamas to sleep, and enter this Anne who goes to bed in sexy, sheer lingerie. No more chauffeur surveillance for her, thank you very much. She got this!

Anne faults Don Kato with putting his musical career above their relationship. From Kato’s point of view, Anne lacks the basic understanding and empathy that goes with maintaining a relationship. Endless fights, uncleared resentments, silent treatments follow, and in comes rabble-rouser Sophia Demeran, Pè Demeran’s abroad-living daughter, who ostensibly is interested in Don Kato for purely ethnological purposes. Privately, she’s sharpening her claws and is scheming to zoom in on Anne’s territory.

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We Love You Anne, is truly about the coming of age of a young woman. Prior to dating Kato, Anne was under the tight grip of her father. She falls in love with the first guy who approaches her. Once their love is tested, the question is, did Anne really fall in love with Kato? Is he really her true love? She had never had the chance to truly explore her options, and with Jude Dutreuil’s release, she’s developing second thoughts about whether Don Kato has a place in her future or not.

I Love You Anne was part-romance, part adventure, and all comedy; We Love You Anne is pure romantic comedy. Tonton Bicha’s one-liners constitutes much of the comedy. Fils-Aimé is quite capable an actor. As a matter of fact, if there’s one thing the majority of the actors cannot be faulted with, it’s bad acting. There is this visible evenness in terms of the actors’ performances. For instance, when Antonio Cheramy’s performance in I Love You Anne is compared to the one in We Love You Anne, the contrast is startling. In We Love You Anne, he is less tense, more sure of himself, and with this newly found confidence, he yields one of the best performances in We Love You Anne. By the time We Love You Anne ends, it’s more than obvious that it isn’t just Cheramy’s dreads that grew during the interval between the original film and the sequel.

Joseph Zenny, a standout in the original film, has stretched his skills considerably as Jude Dutreuil. Newly released from the penitentiary, the character wants to win over Anne at all costs. Could one year’s worth of detention have reformed a white collar criminal? Zenny’s seraphic treatment of the character leads one to think so.

Jude Dutreil’s beer bottle-cuddling cousin Gregory, as played by Reginald Bastien, is the villain that Jude Dutreil was in I Love You Anne, except more depraved. Whereas one could feel a glint of sympathy for Jude Dutreil, however misguided his love for Anne was, Gregory doesn’t inspire any such feelings. Linda, Anne’s friend in the original, has been replaced by Nadia (Sandra Lesperance). Nadia, unlike Linda, has no scruples, but believe it or not, she means well. Like Geneus, Lesperance plays alongside the original cast with the utmost ease.

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Although her appearance is brief, it was a joy to see the sassy Beatrice Thalès. Pè Demeran hasn’t changed one bit; he’s still fond of his little accordion, and is the peacemaker and schism-eliminator. Ruth St Hubert’s role should be expanded in the third installment of the I Love You Anne franchise. She plays her character Cleantha the maid with such a great deal of simplicity and humility, but one feels that there is unexplored fire in that actress that should be given a wider opportunity to sparkle, if not in another Anne film, then for certain in another role.

But how does this sequel weigh in when compared to the original? The performance factor has already been mentioned. One thing that ought to be pointed out is that, We Love You Anne’s ending broke the unofficial sequel rule. A sequel has to bring things to a closure, while leaving the way open for another installment in a movie franchise (think Spiderman and Batman). Dominique Antoine’s screenplay ends on a cliffhanger as if We Love You Anne were the season finale episode of a 2-hour long TV series, and not a feature film.

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Not surprisingly, I Love You Anne fans are already stamping their feet impatiently over the next installment. I Love You Anne is by far the only Haitian movie that’s attracted the adoration of Haitian movie lovers, no matter their generation. Hopefully, the franchise owners plan the next installment accordingly.