An endearing tale of someone who tries hard to make sure a community should not go through anything worse than what they’ve gone through themselves. Such mindsets help people finally have a conversation and make people aware of problems that exist in society. There is no reason why any of the taboo topics cannot be discussed and why people can’t be made to feel safe in an environment. Keeping that in mind, director Alpha Nicky Mulowa and writer Adam Rockoff showcase to us the tale of Ni’cola Mitchell in their film, “Giving Hope: The Ni’cola Mitchell Story.” Ni’cola started as an author and became an inspiration for many young girls around the world, but life’s journey is as complicated as anyone else’s. Let’s look at the obstacles she comes across to become an inspiration in the end.
Ni’cola Mitchell’s Plan
Ni’cola Mitchell is a well-known author of several books, and her writing career taking off is the best thing that has happened to her. Writing books and starting a publishing house that would help women come forward to tell their stories through literature. She is always excited to see people read and pick up books in general, and that restores her faith in the fact that the written word still has an audience. The movie begins with Ni’cola’s book signing event concluding successfully, and she is more than happy to know that her new book has again become successful, and she cannot wait to write more. Accompanied by her sister Nene, Ni’cola is on her upward journey. Ni’cola is humble about her life so far, and she is aware of how much hard work she has put in to reach where she is. Ni’cola spots a young girl reading a book with the utmost intent and patience. She is happy to see a girl as young as her reading a book, and she strikes up a conversation with her. The girl reveals that she is an avid reader. Ni’cola lets the girl know that she is an author.
The girl is excited to know Ni’cola Mitchell is an author, and she starts asking all sorts of questions about how to become one. Ni’cola is happy to be sharing her experience in the abridged version, but she finds the girl’s excitement infectious. Ni’cola offers to buy her the book and gets all the details about her so that she can find out how she can help the girl. The girl’s name is Keisha, and she comes from a poor background where her mother cannot afford much other than her school fees. Ni’cola never stops being amazed by a kid’s interest in reading, and it melts her heart to comprehend that kids these days are not just distracted by technology.
This makes Ni’cola change her mind about a lot of things from now on. She is the kind of person who is keen on making a change in the world. Seeing Keisha, she comes up with a plan to do something for girls like her who would want to do something so that they feel empowered and uplifted. Ni’cola is a go-getter, and she is adamant about creating a platform for young girls to feel safe. Her sister Nene helped her come up with the idea of starting an organization that would encourage girls to come up and talk about issues that bother them daily. On consulting with Ni’cola’s daughter Diamond, the girls these days want to feel okay talking about all the things that bother them. They can talk of lack of education, low self-esteem, and abuse they have faced at various junctures of their lives. Instead of getting someone to forward and speak to them, the girls would be given a stage to talk about their experiences. Ni’cola Mitchell is glad to have come up with this idea because, growing up, she had no platform like this to talk about and share the problems she faced as a young girl. Somehow a lot of that pain got erased, but she has turned out to be a stronger person than she was. Her fame would help her bring in people from different backgrounds to make her organization a success, which in turn would encourage more girls to come forward.
They decide to name the group Girls Who Brunch, a place where the girls can be themselves, dress however they want, and talk about all the inhibitions they face on a day-to-day basis. Ni’cola has her doubts about whether the event will be a success or not, but she takes the gamble and uses her connections and contacts to come up with the first event for the Girls Who Brunch. Ni’cola has never done this before, and she can only hope that, just like her previous book launches, this venture will be a success too and help her bring in as many girls as she can. Ni’cola ends up meeting another young girl in her teens who seems to have been abandoned by her boyfriend. Though Ni’cola tries to help the girl, she is not keen on being helped by a stranger. Ni’cola, in return, asks her to come by the event to help her understand what the girl needs. The girl is reluctant to even begin to fathom what just happened, but as promised, she comes to the Girls Who Brunch event and she understands what Ni’cola was trying to do. The girl realizes Nicola only wants to help her get out of the awful situation. This platform would probably help the girl come to terms with the fact that there are resources she was not provided with, and this event would help her face the issues at hand and probably help her become an empowered woman who will never feel neglected.
‘Giving Hope’ Ending Explained: Did Ni’cola Finally Achieve Her Goal?
Though Ni’cola Mitchell’s event was a huge success with a good turnout, Ni’cola had to spend a lot of her money on the event, for she was finding it hard to get a round of sponsors that would help her manage the amount she was spending on the merchandise and the goodie bags she was accumulating for the girls at the event. To make the event more exciting, it was Ni’cola’s idea to gather a bunch of goodie bags for the girls. This would help her stand out from other NGO events and help her gather as much attention as is required to make her work recognized by people, especially young girls, and their families. Ni’cola is not hesitant to spend a good deal on the goodie bags and merchandise for now because she has enough in her pocket from the book sales.
Her first event was a success, which was followed by being invited to various other cities to carry out events focusing on the same topic and targeting at-risk girls because they are the ones that need to be asked to take the step and speak up about their experience of being neglected. Ni’cola is successful in carrying out all the events thanks to her sister and daughters, who stand by her like a rock and refuse to leave her side. They are as ambitious for Girls Who Brunch as much as Ni’cola is. They make sure to attend as many events as they can with her to let her know they are here and are not willing to step away from her life. Ni’cola is glad to have a family such as this one because not many are blessed with people around them who would support all their endeavors.
As a young girl, Ni’cola Mitchell, while growing up in Jamaica, was forced by her teachers to be a certain way, which made an impression in her head about how a woman should be. This changed over the years, but her memory of the school remained with her. Along with getting bullied for looking the way she does, a teenage Ni’cola was sexually molested by her teacher, a trauma that took her forever to recover from. A trauma that led her to form Girls Who Brunch. She was lucky to have a supportive family who helped her through her trauma, but not all girls have that luxury. This became one of the reasons for Ni’cola to begin this NGO that would help young girls talk about their trauma and channel it in a way they find comfortable.
Amidst all the hustle and bustle of the events, Ni’cola is not just losing a lot of money; she is also finding it hard to get sponsors to help her get the money going for the events to be a success. She is also finding it hard to gather donations that would help them sustain themselves. Soon Ni’cola is also diagnosed with first-stage ovarian cancer, which puts all of her plans on the back burner because she will have to spend plenty of money on the treatment as well. She reveals that she needs donations to fund the NGO, and she would also need the money to fund her daughter’s college fees. Though Girls Who Brunch does not go into mourning, this was just one of the concerns she has had since her cancer diagnosis. This is the least of the hurdles Ni’cola expected to come across. She was leading a content life up until her diagnosis, which put her in a bad state of mind. Thankfully, her daughters and sister were by her side to help her get through these tumultuous times.
Ni’cola Mitchell, though, felt that she had reached a block in her life, for she was unable to think of a way to keep the NGO from being closed down. She approaches her former professor, Dr. William Sullivan, who has been a constant source of inspiration for her since her college days. Ni’cola became a mother to Destani at a very young age, and though the father of the child is not revealed in the movie, Ni’cola made it clear that her child would not stop her from finishing her education. Though Ni’cola had her sister and her mother to help her with the older child, she wanted to be there for Destani. Professor Sullivan helped her by providing a lot of concessions while on campus that would help her find time for her studies and her child. Sullivan was her source of help, an angel in disguise that helped her become who she is, a well-renowned author.
Though she comes by to ask for advice on how to be normal from here on out, with her NGO work and the cancer diagnosis, Ni’cola feels aimless. Professor Sullivan only advises her to do the right thing because Ni’cola has always known what is right for her despite facing plenty of obstacles on her way. Professor Sullivan knows Ni’cola will find a way through this painful journey and come out victorious. She takes this up as the self-assurance talk that she needs and moves ahead with her treatment.
A year later, Ni’cola Mitchell came out cancer-free. She is more than elated to have received this piece of good news. With cancer almost gone from her system, Ni’cola is focused on taking the NGO to the next level and making it a nationwide phenomenon. Ni’cola received another piece of good news when L’Oreal Paris conferred the Women of Worth award on her, something she had not expected at all. Ni’cola is overjoyed to know this award will let her bring Girls Who Brunch to the forefront and help the girls become the voice of empowerment. There is no turning back for Ni’cola from here because she did not just beat cancer; she was able to put Girls Who Brunch on the map of the world. Ni’cola has achieved her dream of making her work of making the voices of the girls recognized, especially by the whole world. Ni’cola has always made sure of her goals to reach a point of fulfillment; through this success, she will get in touch with plenty of sponsors and donors, hoping that will help her sustain Girls Who Brunch. Ni’cola is a determined woman who got what she always wanted, a renowned author, and a philanthropist who loves working with young girls who want to be the voice of change.
There are good films, feel-good films, and then there are the most cheesy films that rely so much on the goodness of the leads in them that it becomes nauseating after a point. It feels like consuming one too many candies, and the inevitable result is the feeling of being nauseous. “Giving Hope: The Ni’cola Mitchell Story” is one such narrative that focuses so much on the goodness of people that it is hard to even digest the fact that there are no bad human beings at all. Ni’cola Mitchell’s story gets so bland and vanilla after a point that one knows that not one person that Ni’cola touched had a bad cell in them; all they wanted was to aid the helpless girls. The world is black and white. The screenplay and direction are toned, and there is no complexity in the narrative. The writer and the director just did not touch upon what kind of trauma Ni’cola went through. This plot point was just touched upon, but there was no explanation of how the trauma of being abused affected her as a teenager. So much for telling the story of a woman who wanted to build a platform for girls at risk, but Ni’cola Mitchell’s story remained untouched throughout the running time of the film. All in all, the film is a decent watch; it is filled with characters that are too good to be true.
“Giving Hope: The Ni’cola Mitchell Story” is a 2023 biographical drama film directed by Alpha Nicky Mulowa.