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Queen & Slim Review

The film kicks off right into the thick of things. A tinder dinner date at a diner (say that five times fast lol) tells you everything you need to know about the two leads. Within five minutes our protagonists have shot a cop in self defense and are on the run, Jay Z and Beyonce style. I don’t want to spoil where the film takes them, or why they go there. But along the way they run into -pun intended-  a cast of characters more colorful than a new orleans traphouse. And in the case of the traphouse, they literally go to one. 

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The best part and the worst part about this movie is that it feels real.

Every character is written incredibly realistic. The ostentatious southern uncle reminds me of my own family. The elderly black mechanic who doesn’t support their plight. The white marine who just wants to help. They’re all very believable. The only true character shortcomings are in the leads themselves. Their dialogue is written a little too cool sometimes. Occasionally it feels like I’m watching a movie full of quotables, and that can take away from the all too real premise. But at the end of the day, I’d rather watch a movie full of quotables than a movie with none at all. The acting, however, is on point, 10/10 from almost every person who steps in front of the camera. Kudos to them.

Scenes are well composed, both in direction and in score. The soundtrack serves the warm visuals, elevating aerial angles and dive bar mid shots are matched with tense strings and southern blues respectively. Every shot that lingers over Queen and Slim tugs at your heartstrings just a little more. Whoever shot this thing isn’t gonna win any Oscars anytime soon, but it’s well done with a lot of passion. 

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The best part and the worst part about this movie is that it feels real. It isn’t a sci fi movie starring space wizards and laser swords. No, it’s about a young black couple from Ohio who made a tough decision one night. Queen and Slim succeeds in making it feel like I’m watching my neighbors on the run. It feels like I’m watching my cousin. It feels like I’m watching me. At its best it’s funny and charming and inspiring. And at its worst it’s gripping and honest and terrifying.  

And for two hours, it manages to turn my anxiety on to the max, even if the  is trinary. They either both live, one of them lives, or they both die…. 

No matter the outcome, you will enjoy the journey. And that’s what makes it easy to recommend. Very rarely does a movie actually move you. There were white people and black people crying when they were walking out of the theater. 

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Pictured: You after seeing this movie

Of course, you can’t write a review about this movie without taking part in the discourse. And I aint no bitch so I’m just gonna come out and say it: We need more white people to see this movie, and we need more black people -and every shade in between- to support it and buy more tickets. I’m gonna breakdown those statements into two halves. 

Sometimes art, even those directly inspired by real world events, can open people up to new perspectives. While I don’t think this film is going to change any white sheeted maniacs mind – by the way Mr. KKK, take off that damn mask, you’re not Batman- it could open the eyes of say, your heavily conservative uncle who might believe in keeping black people “in their place”. The goal of inviting more white people to see it has the benefit of exposing folk to the daily struggle of black and brown people, while also bolstering ticket sales so more of these movies get made. I’m not saying we need a Marvel Cinematic Franchise made out of black pain, but only a handful of movies like this get made each year. Let’s make more. 

No matter the outcome, you will enjoy the journey. And that’s what makes it easy to recommend.

Black people, go see this movie too, mostly for the same reasons, but also, as a reminder. Everybody gets caught up in life, but never forget the double edged sword of being black in this country. Rich or poor, no person of color here can deny that the unfortunate premise of this movie can be you at almost any given time, and the edge of the blade pointed towards you only gets sharper if you have less money. As food for thought, strongly consider what you would do if, god forbid, this were to happen to you?

I can already smell the hot breath of some dude shouting: “well they shouldn’t have ran in the first place!”. And you know what, maybe not, but from the jump, it’s made clear that even in self defense, the killing of a police officer almost guarantees death for a black person. Upon turning themselves in, they may have been killed, or jailed and then killed (aka Jeffery Epsteined), or lost the fight for their freedom in court. We’ve seen black people convicted for far less. The choice to run clearly offers the greatest chance at freedom. And isn’t freedom what you’re all about Ms. America? 

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Isn’t it, Ms. America?

To summarize, Queen and Slim is dope. As a film, its as stylish and well written as movies come. As a drama, it makes you feel for the characters and want them to win. And as a message, it needs to be seen and shared.  There’s so much more to talk about when it comes to the events in this movie. Let’s discuss them in the comments below.

Sidebar:

-What would come next in this Marvel Cinematic Universe of black pain? Personally I want something funny, like a feature length episode of Atlanta 👀 

-Give the soundtrack and the ost an ear. It’s solid dawg. 

-Melanie Halfkenny is looking right in this movie. That’s right, I found her name haha.

 

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