by Jaime Davis
Regina Hall is one of the best actresses working today, yet many don’t know her by name. And if they do happen to recognize her, they mistake her for Regina King, another one of the best actresses working today. I assure you that both Reginas are very very different. And while I could also write a Hey Rewind That about Regina King (her scenes in Puerto Rico in If Beale Street Could Talk alone, my word!) this one is going out to Hall.
Born and raised in Washington, DC, Hall was a journalism student at NYU when her father suddenly passed away, prompting her to change directions and give acting a try. After finishing school, she spent two years auditioning, eventually landing a line in a McDonald’s commercial, and later, breaking out as Brenda Meeks in the horror parody Scary Movie. Hall’s performances are always warm and engaging, but it’s her moments in comedy that make me smile smile smile. Here are my top three Regina Hall performances that have me rewinding and rewatching.
Candy/Candace, The Best Man and The Best Man Holiday
Her role may be small in the first installment of The Best Man franchise, but in one quick scene she’s endearing and tough all at once, as Candy, a no-nonsense erotic dancer working her way through college. She’s wooed by softie Julian who quotes Audre Lorde to get her attention. Later in The Best Man Holiday, now going by her given name Candace, Hall colors her performance in with shades of fierce love and protective affection. Candace is someone I want to have on my side at all times, no doubt.
Lisa in both The Hate U Give and Support the Girls
Hall’s performances in The Hate U Give and Support the Girls are two examples of her more nuanced acting abilities. In The Hate U Give, Hall plays a mother shielding her family from racial tensions brewing after an innocent young man is killed by police in front of her daughter. In Support the Girls, a subdued story of a Hooters-esque restaurant struggling to stay afloat in Texas, Hall plays Lisa, a nurturing mother hen looking out for her employees at all costs, despite navigating her own troubles. The Hate U Give and Support the Girls are both must-watches for Hall’s strong and spirited presence.
Ryan Pierce in Girls Trip and Jordan Sanders in Little
These are the Regina Hall performances that light me up. There are scenes in both films where Regina loses herself fully – no pretense, she just lets go and it’s the little things that she does that add up to big moments for me. As career-obsessed mean girl Jordan in Little, Hall leans way into her portrayal, yelling at everything that moves and riling people for eating carbs. Little isn’t a particularly good film, but Hall’s moments make it more than watchable for me. There’s a super fun scene in Girls Trip where the ladies are trying to be incognito. So they don some wigs and head on into a club. With her sunglasses askew and a semi-cocky step in her stride, watching her walk into the club with a bounce in her step always makes me happy.