Queen & Slim Review – A First Date Takes a Hard Turn
Melina Matsoukas has brilliantly portrayed a mix of themes including prejudice, love and hate in her latest romantic drama Queen & Slim. It takes place in Ohio, starring Daniel Kaluuya from Get Out and Jodie Turner-Smith from Nightflyers. The two play Queen & Slim who’s first date takes an extreme turn after getting pulled over by the police, this starts a dangerous, thrilling and passionate road trip of a lifetime around the US.
The film focuses on the inequality that black people face at the hands of the police in modern day America. It is not a window into these lives but an open door that invites the audience to experience the heart-breaking reality that goes on day to day in that country. I appreciated that it showed not only the black male perspective but the black female perspective too. It was also informative and did not sugar-coat any information necessary, it was as if it was left on a plate giving us the choice to pick up the fork and digest the harsh cold truth or push it away in denial.
I loved how infectious it was, every scene evoked a different emotion according to the themes mentioned. When they were happy, you felt happy and when they were sad, you felt it too. It was all down to the superb performances by the actors who played their parts to a T. The film had me feeling as if I had been living life in a daze before the screening and afterwards it woke me up and reminded me of how valuable life really is. I also think that behind the picturesque towns and landscapes we see, the fitting and soothing soundtrack we hear, possibly one of the main messages that Melina may have been trying to tell us with this film was exactly that.
If you’re a sucker for a great love story that’s funny too than this film is for you. There were many relatable and comedic moments in between the seriousness of the film, just like little hooks that you could hang on to and connect with the characters along the journey. They also served as reminders that Queen and Slim are just like me and you. As strange as it sounds, while they were dating each other in the film, it felt like I was also dating them too in the sense that as they revealed their insecurities, flaws and baggage you got see how human, raw and loveable they are the same way you do in a new relationship.
I would definitely recommend this film, there is sensitive/explicit imagery in it but it’s beautifully shot so you can judge it for yourself when it comes to the audience you’d like to watch it with. However, these films are truly important to keep us aware, empathetic and to activate a willingness to help others with the adversity they are facing on a large and small scale.
- Director: Melina Matsoukas
- Written by: Lena Waithe
- Starring: Daniel Kaluuya and Jodie Turner-Smith
- Rated: R
- Running Time: 2 hours and 12 minutes
- Release Date: US November 27th, 2019 | UK and Ireland January 31st, 2020
Review by Ren Canga a Dublin based Cinematographer