Don’t Watch Smile Orange – If You Want to Learn Jamaican Slang
Having watched most of the Jamaican Slang Classics like “Rockers”, “The Harder They Come”, “Shottas”, “Third World Cop” and “Dancehall Queen”, I was looking for a Jamaican movie. While at a local Caribbean restaurant, I picked up Trevor Rhone’s “Smile Orange”.
“Smile Orange” is set in a Jamaican beach hotel and pokes fun at the tourist trade in Jamaica. It focuses on both the visitors and the local Jamaicans. “Smile Orange” is mostly the story of the mischievously slick waiter, super stud, Ringo Smith (played by Carl Bradshaw – “Third World Cop”) , who has made a profitable art of servility. Ringo acts as a waiter, lover, teacher and joker.
“Smile Orange” is not a movie for someone interested in learning Jamaican Patois/Jamaican Slang. Sadly, even when the Jamaicans speak among themselves, they are largely speaking in Standard English. There are a few scenes of Patois such as when Ringo’s mother shows up at the hotel, but for the most part, this is not a film for the student of Jamaican Slang. You are not likely to learn new vocabulary words or new expressions, so as the title of this article says, Don’t Watch Smile Orange if You Want to Learn Jamaican Slang.
Now, here is the BUT! “Smile Orange” is a great film to understand the side of Jamaican Culture that most people are exposed to, the resort culture. When most people go to Jamaica, they usually stay at resorts in places like Montego Bay, Negril or Ocho Rios. Very few people go to Kingston (sadly). “Smile Orange” shows the way skin complexion plays a role in the positions of power in Jamaican society, the way people from the countryside traditionally have been exposed to a different way of life than those from the cities and what happens when country folks make it to the city, and the interaction of Jamaican men with women from abroad.
I’ve heard many stories of women from Europe, Canada, and The States meeting Jamaican men along the beaches near resorts and having different degrees of romance. “Smile Orange” is the best movie to really see how this uniquely Caribbean dynamic works, so I highly recommend the film if you want to get some insight into Jamaican culture beyond Rastafari, Reggae, Ganja and Crime. Oh, by the way, “Smile Orange” is also a funny movie, so sit back, study and laugh.
Ras Zuke is the author of The Rastaman Vibration – The Definitive Source for learning about Jamaican culture, Reggae Music and how to To learn more about Jamaica, Dancehall Reggae, Reggae, Jamaican Culture and how to Speak Jamaican Patois, visit http://www.SpeakJamaican.com and http://www.jamaican-slang.com