Alfre Woodard is officially part of the latest romantic comedy revival. In the Netflix film Juanita, she plays the titular character, a mother of three adult kids. Bored with the mundanity of life, she takes off from work (and from her children) to experience a spiritual and sexual awakening. Blair Underwood co-stars as her imaginary lover, and along the way, Juanita is smitten by a chef, played by Adam Beech.

“A romantic comedy is a hard thing to make. We actually lost the heart of romance as a culture. We became cynical,” she says. “Hopefully we’re at a point where we want to talk about the women, what they’re thinking, what they’re feeling.”

Woodard stopped by Jezebel to talk about the journey of Juanita and how her own activism is tied to the emotional process of bringing stories to life on screen.