Not a film that received a theater recommendation (did suggest to see it on streaming) from me, but am moved to defend when I read about so-called “awards” that don’t consider and judge all movies fairly.
Including this one.
While I may not agree with others about whether or not a movie is good, there should be no disagreement that viewing is necessary in any critique or review process.
Should be obvious that one can’t judge whether or not something is liked if has never been watched!
“We held three screenings for the HFPA and almost no members attended,” Matsoukas said. “For me, it’s reflective of their voting body. It’s not reflective of the society in which we live in or the industry as it stands today. They don’t value the stories that represent all of us, and those stories are so often disregarded and discredited, as are their filmmakers.”
Queen & Slim has held on at the box office, kudos to them and all those who enjoyed watching:
Will say one thing that this movie reminded me of, and no, not Bonnie & Clyde (Screenrant!), it’s a pensive song by Wyclef Jean called “Gunpowder” that deals with senseless gun violence.
In the movie there is a Black Lives Matters march and a young black boy takes out a gun and shoots a black policeman. Why? We never really find out in the film. Is this support for Queen and Slim? Taking action against the police?
In my Queen & Slim film critique, I missed the gun violence angle that was addressed, at least symbolically in the scene involving the protest and shooting.
I did mention the overzealous, racist cop who hassled the young couple just trying to drive home. Why the policeman drew his gun is left for the viewer to figure out. Seemed very heavy-handed.
More Reviews by Others
Since my last post about Queen & Slim, I came across some more good reviews to share. Not separating them, just grouping below:
Cinema from the Spectrum: “This is a story that absolutely deserves to be told, because of the way black citizens’ lives have been immortalized at the hands of racism, but Queen & Slim never really lands fully, despite being undoubtedly entertaining.”
greatmartin: “There are many unbelievable moments in “Queen & Slim” but the most shocking, head shaking and unbelievable are 5 that will make you gasp and wonder how these things can happen and be taken for granted today.”
Major Film Reviews: ” I enjoyed the characters, and the journey they took, there was also some marvellous camera work and direction, and I feel with a tighter focus it might have been one of my favourites this year, as it is though, it’s an enjoyable,”
M.U.S.E Enthusiasts: “…is beautifully shot, has cast chemistry and good acting. The common sense of how two law abiding citizens go on a first date and their lives forever changed, had me perplexed. “
moviejoltz: “There were a couple of weaker scenes that did not work for me; but this would be only a minor complaint. My eyes were glued to the movie screen due to the incredible acting, directing and filming of this topical storied movie.”
The Friday Night Cinema Club: “There’s something about its vision of the American road from the other side of the law that’s undeniable. Rough and blemished though it may be, it’s a gem all the same.”
The Musings of Apple Juice: “The last section was the racial commentary in this which I felt was the weakest portion. Last years The Hate You Give (Juice Rating 92/100) was on my Top Ten for the year and it really balanced between overt statements and telling the story. This felt like the racial stuff was just shoe horned in and never felt natural. The riot scene was just so out of place and felt like a different movie while I was watching it.”
wordyblerd: “the latest bloody reminder of what Black rebelion cost played in our minds as we stepped out of the darkness of the theater and into the the darkness and cold of the real world where the threat of state sanctioned violence is as constant as it is in the “entertainment” we just consumed. Yes, Queen & Slim was powerful, but it’s important to ask for whom.”
…has predictably zero to do with Bonnie and Clyde — either the real couple, or the excellent movie starring Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway, and yet there continue to be people comparing this movie to that.
Its like comparing Titantic to The Poseidon Adventure. Sure, they are both ships that sank, but the former hit an iceberg and the latter flipped over in a tidal wave.
Why is this illogical comparison being made? Blame the uncle of one of the characters for exclaiming that in the trailer.
If you haven’t seen the movie yet, then you should come back to this discussion post after you’ve seen, because there are SPOILERS that follow.
… you have been warned … SPOILERS AHEAD ….
So, let’s start with the trailer, again:
“Cop killers, cop killers!” — you hear that in the background of the trailer. There was an accidental shooting of one cop, that’s it. The other police encounter before the ending there isn’t even any violence toward the policeman.
Bogus Bonnie & Clyde Comparison
This is weak at best related to Bonnie and Clyde, who hated the police and were more than happy to kill them. Anyway, this is far and away not my only criticism of the film, but this one is just annoying because it’s something said by a character comparing them to two 1930s-era criminals and thugs when the only meaningful comparison is that they were on the run from law enforcement. The ending is basically the same. That’s it. That’s the only reference that makes any sense whatsoever. All other references are completely irrelevant and illogical.
Poor Romantic Chemistry
The main characters have terrible romantic chemistry and yet we’re supposed to believe they become romantically involved? No way. I wasn’t buying anything happening ever between these two. Is it cool that they are trying to create a romance between the two, yes? But it doesn’t work because the female character is largely unlikable and Ernest is too gullible. He just lets her push him around and that’s what love is about? No.
Bonnie and Clyde actually did have strong love for each other. There was deep, deep romance between these two. They had all kinds of chemistry. Bonnie broke Clyde out of jail.
What does Angela ever do in this movie for Ernest? He does things for her more out of necessity it seems. Like when he snaps her dislocated shoulder back in place. Ernest is the good guy and he deserved a nicer woman than Angela. I was rooting for him to walk away and go back to his parents and Angela, well, she could be in the death car with Bonnie & Clyde.
Angela’s character is a cold defense lawyer and her only reason for going on a date with Ernest is because she lost a case the same day and “didn’t want to be alone.”
Yeah, that’s a real good motivator for a guy to even like you, must less want to fall in love with you in the span of an hour or so.
The love scene wasn’t energetic or romantic. Felt like Ernest was just coldly banging Angela and/or she wanted it that way. No love making, just fairly meaningless sex which they weren’t even supposed to have on the first date according to Angela’s own words.
Also, Angela is way too intense with the police officer. Talking to him like she almost wants to provoke the copy to treat them more harshly.
The Policemen’s Actions During the Traffic Stop are Unacceptable
Let me make this clear, the way the policeman handled the traffic stop with our two main characters was unprofessional and wrong. He had an aggressive attitude toward the couple from the start. I was thinking the copy was racist and didn’t need Angela’s prodding to make his actions seem even remotely justified. She would have appeared more sympathetic if she shut her mouth.
That said, not all cops are like this jerk.
There are a lot of great police officers doing a job that is often times very difficult to do to everybody’s satisfaction, but this policeman behaving as he did deserved not to be out in the field.
The trailer leaves out several lines of Angela’s dialogue that seem to be provoking the officer and that dialogue was unnecessary and extraneous. Unless it was to make us like Angela less and somewhat forgive the police officer.
Too Many Come and Go Side Characters
Lost count of how many supporting actors there were in this film. It’s a bunch and none of their stories really have any arc or significance except for the mechanic’s son (see next commentary). The couple that hides them out? Nope. The final guy who calls in the plane only to turn on them for reward money?
Sketchy Camerawork in Spots
A couple jarring scenes that were not monologue have the camera on Angela and Ernest but their mouths aren’t moving. I like to see actors/actresses speaking the words, not having their voices with a camera on them and their mouths shut. What is that? Also there was at least one scene that was out of focus in the beginning.
This might have been stylistic and intentional, but it came off as amateurish and sloppy to me.
The Mechanic’s Son Overreacted, Just Like Others – Realistic, Yes
What was the plot surrounding the mechanic’s son supposed to do? Why? Was that just there so there could be a Black Lives Matter march and the boy to overact and shoot another black person? Black on black gun violence? You’d think the boy would shoot a white cop rather than a very respectful black officer, yes/no? Instead he shoots someone in his own race. I didn’t understand what was supposed to be learned from this character except that Queen & Slim had inspired this young boy somehow to seek violence against all police officers, regardless of race. Equality of sorts, I suppose, but it made no sense to me?
As for the Black Lives Matter marching. I wish that had been expanded upon. Perhaps the preparation of the march could have been cutaway from some of the slower scenes between Queen & Slim? This would have packed a more dramatic punch when the mechanic’s son pulls out that gun.
I was more interested in this side story than the unbelievable romance relationship between Queen & Slim, but we get these side characters and then they just disappear in the story never to be heard from again.
It seems they were put there to show that Queen & Slim had caused a movement to develop and they had support from others.
One side character that I did like was the policeman who lets them pass through the roadblock after discovering them in the garage. Thought that was a very telling scene. That was also one of the more dramatic scenes in the movie to me.
I didn’t recommend seeing this film in the theaters in my review. I think it could be worth seeing on streaming, if you would like to wait. There are many better, IMHO, movies showing right now. Then again, if you have an unlimited pass to see movies like we are paying for through Regal, then you’ll see it anyway (why not?). If you have a choice between Ford v Ferrari, Knives Out, Frozen II or my personal favorite Doctor Sleep and this? See any of those instead first.
Reviews by Others
Let’s see, so far, what other moviegoers think of Queen & Slim.
Did I miss your review? Use the comments to tell me about your movie-related/review blog and I’ll follow. I like following movie-related blogs. Yes, even those who disagree with my reviews and vice versa.
tvjeremy (9/10): ” Daniel Kaluuya and Jodie Turner-Smith are a force to be reckoned with. The two actors created magic in every scene. Throughout the narrative the duo grow on each other in an organic way. It is playful, emotional, and poetic. The cinematography is highly stylized like a painting from the Renaissance era.”
A Space for Me: “What I got was not only beauty but a feeling of my existence being justified. I left the theater in tears but my heart felt lighter.”
Brennen Jones / The Urban Twist: “…much more interested in myth-making than storytelling, and viewers who don’t care that much about the latter will definitely buy into the former.”
Sistas on the sofa: “Queen and Slim is a perfect depiction of what it is like to be black in today’s world. The movie displayed a perfect illustration of our emotions: anger, worry, freedom, humor, and most importantly how we love.”
(ed: not a review, but interesting): Buzzmaster blogs about Snoop Dog and other celebrities buying out theater showings to support the film.
A.R Shaw: “…will cause varying reactions from those who will vehemently oppose or agree with the underlying message of the film’s ending. Should Black America be given hope for the future, or is the darkness of an inescapable reality too grave to hide?”
Bill’s Media Commentary: “…the film is much more, a demonstration of how racial identity politics and law enforcement have collided into almost a critical mass, all going back perhaps to Ferguson and Baltimore.”
Jordan Parker (4.5/5): “With the crackerjack script, a formidable performance from Oscar nominee Daniel Kaluuya, and a turn from newcomer Jodie Turner-Smith that’s jaw-dropping, this is one of the best of the year.”
Stream to Big Screen: “…a different type of romantic dramedy, rivals and, I believe ultimately, will be associated with the likes of the Love and Basketball, Love Jones, and If Beale Street Could Talk. The performances in the movie and the conversation piece this movie will be makes it worth every dollar in the movie theater.”
Matt Brunson / FILM FRENZY (3/4): ” Some of the film’s subplots and supporting characterizations feel underdeveloped … but as a conversation starter among discerning types, as a palate cleanser from the injustices of the real world, and simply as a worthwhile motion picture, Queen & Slim takes a familiar road and invests it with newfound fury.”
Not Recommended (or on the fence/unclear)
Jack Blackwell (3/5): “…a fascinating experiment and often a visual treat, but simply doesn’t put in the ground work to reach the ‘classic’ status it’s clearly aiming for.”
Tamale Reviews (6/12): “The premise is inspired and relevant, yet “Queen & Slim’s” leading characters’ connection, romantic or otherwise, feels inauthentic.”
Dana Simone / Runpee (Grade: C): “Considering that we already know the storyline, the movie progressed a little too slowly for me.”
Keith Loves Movies: “The film was beautifully shot in a unique style thanks to Matsoukas’ experience directing music videos but in the end, the best part of Queen and Slim undoubtedly was the excellent nuanced performances from Kaluuya and Turner-Smith as the damaged Ernest and Angela (a.k.a. Queen and Slim) respectively. “
Society Reviews (1/5): ” Other reviewers may wish to walk on eggshells trying to give a pass for the glaring issues in storytelling like it’s jarring tone from scene to scene and the film’s underdeveloped characters but those people are just putting frosting on a burnt cake in hopes that audiences don’t miss the crusty taste of a lecture. However, trying to excuse these poorly executed fantasy disguised as reality movies and the people behind them is exactly how Hollywood gets away with moving up the ladder while losing every game in the process aka failing upwards. “
Let’s discuss Queen & Slim. Do you agree/disagree with my criticism? What did you like and dislike, if anything, about the film?
Wait, you say, “but that’s not in the theaters?” No, it’s on Netflix, but it’s the best new movie available wide this week to see. This isn’t a vote for nostalgia, the last third of this film is a thing of beauty.
This is just a little bit better than #2, which can be seen in the theater. If The Irishman was showing in the theater it would be raking it in at the box office. This movie is worth getting Netflix, if only for a one month subscription. It will be about the same price as buying a ticket in the theater. If you already have Netflix, good news, just boot that badboy up and hit play!
A callback to the old school whodunit featuring a cast of smarmy rich people wanting a piece of inheritance and most with some kind of murder motive. Daniel Craig (James Bond!) plays the mastermind detective who must figure it out and finger the culprit. And no, it’s not the butler who did it.
Erase the whole bogus comparison to Bonnie & Clyde and wait for this one to come to streaming, if you want to see it at all. There is potential here, but mostly squandered.
Want to see what else we recommend NOW PLAYING at the theater?
Here are other movies we’ve seen at the theater recently (maybe they are available in your area still) that are recommended. Any movie we rate at least 3-stars is recommended. You should read any 3-star review (click the title), because sometimes we do qualify those recommendations, meaning we were entertained, but it doesn’t mean that it was necessarily that good. 4-star movies are highly recommended and films we rate as 4 1/2 or 5 stars are must see.
There is one movie, Dark Waters, that is limited opening and screening in our area that we haven’t seen yet. This film looks similar story-wise to Erin Brockovich only instead of Julia Roberts as the lawyer’s assistant, it’s a pudgier looking Mark Ruffalo as an attorney fighting the behemoth corporation. Stay tuned for this review this to come before the weekend is out.
Yay, it is Wednesday (Tuesday night late, actually, but I’m all screwed up by the holiday week, keep reading) and that means it’s time for another opening week of new movies opening in theaters starting tomorrow. Every Wednesday the wide releases are profiled in a post here and we make plans to see them ASAP. On Saturdays usually (sometimes Sunday) I’ll make a NOW PLAYING REVIEWS post with reviews of the films with recommendations or not. Try to get this posted in time to make a decision so readers will know which movie we think is best for a Saturday night date.
This week is a bit unusual in that we’ve already seen one of the wide releases and it’s getting rave critic reviews. If you like mysteries then make plans to see …
Knives Out ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ – we saw the advanced screening of this whodunit last weekend starring Daniel Craig as the detective and a curious and engaging cast of suspects. In our area this has showings 11/26 and 11/27 as well.
Unfortunately, once you’ve seen a good mystery and know the ending, the desire to rewatch the film is much less. The anticipation score below is to rewatch this movie again, not what I would have rated it before seeing it for the first time. Those of you seeing it for the first time, have fun!
Queen & Slim
I’m curious why these two turned a routine traffic stop gone bad into running away from the police. One of the characters in the trailer compared them to Bonnie and Clyde, see our detailed FIRST LOOK, which makes even less sense to me, but does increase my anticipation for seeing the film. So, maybe it was a successful strategy. This has matinee showings starting Wednesday 11/27.
Last week I mentioned that Dark Waters had opened limited in some theaters. It is showing starting 11/27 in our area as well. So, looking forward to seeing these three movies this week.
ANTICIPATION for Week of 11/27/19 MOVIES
How much on scale of 1-10 anticipating the 11-27-2019 movies?
Queen & Slim – 5/10
Knives Out – 4/10
Dark Waters – 4/10
Are there screenings in our area to see these movies?
All three are wide screenings and available in our area, so the plan is to see all of them.
Have seen previews for Queen & Slim in fairly heavy preview rotation at the theater over the last month. It is opening wide this week along with Knives Out ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
There is one thing about the trailer and movie info that I find puzzling.
While on a forgettable first date together in Ohio, a black man (Get Out’s Daniel Kaluuya) and a black woman (Jodie Turner-Smith, in her first starring feature-film role), are pulled over for a minor traffic infraction. The situation escalates, with sudden and tragic results, when the man kills the police officer in self-defense. Terrified and in fear for their lives, the man, a retail employee, and the woman, a criminal defense lawyer, are forced to go on the run. But the incident is captured on video and goes viral, and the couple unwittingly become a symbol of trauma, terror, grief and pain for people across the country.
This doesn’t seem like a very applicable comparison based on the trailer or movie info. Bonnie and Clyde were ruthless criminals. They robbed and murdered people for personal gain. They were notorious for their ability to evade the police and what did all this get this criminal duo in the end?
Killed by police ambush with a barrage of bullets from machine guns, shotguns and pistols. Look at their death car:
Would you want to be riding in this on May 23, 1934? Or how about 85+ years later the car you were murdered in being on display inside a Las Vegas casino for slot machine gamers to say, “Look, what crime gets you, kiddies!”
Conversely, Queen & Slim seems more like an accidental traffic stop propels the people into going on the run from the police.
Now, watch the trailer with this in mind:
See what’s confusing me? The woman is a defense attorney, someone trained in the law, and yet she’s decided not to follow the law? Why not?
(watch the movie to find out)
Nope, I don’t understand the whole “Bonnie and Clyde” reference except for the part about running from the police, but this couple doesn’t seem to have anything else in common with Bonnie & Clyde. Maybe this one incident does turn them down a dark criminal path, but even that wouldn’t make much sense. So a first date turns you into gangsters?
Will credit the trailer for making me curious, at least. Not that I judge movies based on their trailers, but this one is going to be hard to not to ask myself, so when will these two become Bonnie and Clyde?
Are you planning to see Queen & Slim in the theater, waiting for streaming or still undecided if you want to see it at all?