We’ve all been waiting for Chi-Town writer Lena Waithe and director Melina Matsoukas’, Queen & Slim, for most of the year. And I just want to say, I love my people. This movie was another example of how truly talented Black people are, especially when they are given the resources and power to be creative. Jodie Turner-Smith embodies her first leading role as Queen and gives an extremely accurate portrayal of the strength of a Black woman while working alongside her co-star, Academy Award nominee, Daniel Kaluuya. The contrast between her witty clapbacks and his blank stare make for an interesting dynamic that is at the forefront of the story and engaging to follow.
Black Love Is The Best Love
The movie follows Queen and Slim’s Tinder date that goes severely wrong. They had no chemistry initially but after a basic traffic stop turns into a murder, the two turn into criminals on the run together in a national manhunt. We watch them as they sit in the car for hours on hours reeling over the reality of their situation, bickering, and ultimately falling in love. It’s so real though, as Queen stands strong with her “boss lady” vibe that contrasts with Slim’s quiet God-focused demeanor. It’s beautiful, because you get to watch a man and a woman who learn to love each other despite their differences in the midst of their entire world falling apart.
It’ll Make You Uncomfortable And It Should
Even as a Black female who is immensely aware of the reality of injustice in America, this movie still made me sit on the edge of my seat. I was scared to watch something go wrong during the traffic stop although I knew what was coming. Queen & Slim was able to make that fear of not knowing if you will come out of a situation dead or alive as a person of color constant throughout the movie. The thought of them potentially being caught or killed as they trailed across states trying to get away was always lurking in the back of my head and really highlighted the way many people of color, especially Black people, navigate their daily life in the world.
Melina Matsoukas’ Directing Is Everything
To be honest, this movie could’ve been really boring. It was essentially a road movie so it focused mostly on the tedious hours the couple spent driving to different places. However, the constant car footage wasn’t a drag due to the way Matsouka shot the movie. The camera intensely highlighted Queen and Slim’s dark skin glowing in the sun, their facial expressions sitting stern or breaking to laugh, and the beauty of the world around them as they ran for their freedom. Seeing all that melanin on the big screen being loved and glorified isn’t something that you often get in the media industry, so it’s refreshing to see in Queen & Slim.
These are just three reasons on why you should go see the movie, but trust me when I say there are many more.
By Kyla Hubbard, Senior, Whitney M. Young Magnet School