Get ready to swipe right and prepare for a road trip as we cover the 2019 Queen & Slim.


Released: December 2019
Director: Melina Matsoukas
Writer: Lena Waithe
Budget: $18,000,000
Worldwide Gross: $47,659,440
Cast: Daniel Kaluuya, Jodie Turner-Smith, Bokeem Woodbine, Chloë Sevigny, Flea

Breakdown and Analysis

  • We thought we were in for an insular Bonnie and Clyde type adventure and all of the hijinx surrounding that. By insular, we are seeing the perspective the world but only what is needed through the lens of the main characters. There was a lot of contextual background that wasn’t necessary in this film.
  • There’s a frame of reference that KT will never understand, what is means to navigate being black in the world. Further to this, there are some themes that KT will never fully understand. The disparaity between white and black america felt very jarring and leaves little nuance to it.
  • Lena Waithe talks about how there were no good or bad guys in the movie. Bringing example of the white cop just doing his job as we see his family photo in his car. We later find out he had a history of police brutality. So to suggest there is ambiguity even with the adding of these details, conflict each other.
  • KT was really eager to watch but Oti wasn’t fully excited. He had no expectation.
  • There is a way to tackle themes but it was not well executed in this movie.
  • KT took her time and money to watch this film and every scene felt loaded to feel a certain way. Queen wore all the burdens of the world. We aren’t even allowed to love this film, it was marketed for everyone. Not for one specific demographic. If that is the case, if you do not have not have a frame of reference to resonate with the characters, KT believes it is the responsibility of the story teller to at least fill the gaps a bit. To help understand where we need to be, how we need to be primed to enjoy this film. There is a lot of talk about unnecessary exposition which gets in the way of enjoying a film.
  • The catalyst for him going full Johnathan Wickenston was his wife dying. We did not need scenes of them to know how painful losing his wife was. Queen & Slim started off on their date. We do not know anything about them individually, what motivates them and who they are. It would have been less of a barrier of entry for KT if frame of reference was woven throughout. Or do we default hate the police and white people?
  • We come across the kid with the mechanic. He is enthralled and captivated. A product of now, sensationalism and showing your support through hashtags. He amps himself up at a rally because he wanted to take action. We felt it seemed random and felt like getting hit in the head and being forced to feel. It pulled us out of the emotion of the film and it was as if we saw glimpses in the writers room on how to upset the viewers.
  • KT ponders if we are moving away from mostly slave centred stories and experiencing a new wave of social justice fantasy. It is playing out in a world, if you could do what you wanted, this is what you would do. It is unfair that Queen cannot have an off day. A film that did well in covering similar themes and bring people that aren’t African American along was Set It Off.
  • Both characters did not have much emotional resonance and this was reminscent of Lupita in Us. Feel free to check out our episode on Us. As an audience member, I didn’t have enough emotional investment to care about the characters. Kaluuya gives us a masterful performance of realising he will never see his family again but it was hindered by our inability to feel for them.
  • Oti is all for embracing the situation but he got whiplash with Queen’s sudden change from lawyer to outlaw. Contrasting to Slim struggling. He was named Slim because those were his chances without Queen.
  • Queen felt very one dimensional and we start to see why when we meet Uncle Earl. She starts to shed layers and we discover she defended her uncle who killed her mother. Before this, she was flat note. It is sad she lost her mother but it might have been a case of keeping the family she has remaining.
  • None of the characters felt lived in. The advantage of TV shows is we can live and breathe with these characters. Films don’t have as much time but even less we have anthology shows. Insular episodes that deliver emotional resonance within an hour.
  • It took a long time for the characters to get their mojo going. By the time they become a cohesive unit, they die. Pacing was off and the 2 hours was not utilised effectively.
  • Oti offers that the movie focused too much on nothingness. KT retorted that there was too much it was focusing on. So many vehicles to exemplify the plight of African Americans and that kid is one of them. The fact that they chose to kill that kid, detracts from the build of the star crossed lovers having a Romeo Juliet-esque ending. Choose your moments where you want the viewers to have the most emotional impact.
  • The first episode of Twenties explores the juxtaposition of black creatives voicing their feedback on others. World cinema is not at the same level of Hollywood, but KT still feels like we can still analyse it and discuss it thoughtfully.
  • We would have liked more of a focus on Queen and Slim. In the failure to elevate these characters beyond being a symbol, was disappointing. We wanted so badly to connect to these characters and we not given the opportunity.
  • We need more Black love on screen. Jodie exudes sexy.
  • This film had all of the tools and they were given all control, which makes it more than frustrating.
  • Daniel Kaluuya brings so much emotion to his roles without overacting. He has the same emotional performances and ability as Colin Firth.
  • It was forced on us to feel the way we were supposed to feel.
  • We had to guess who Queen was as a person or accept that she was one dimensional. She was hurt. She was angry. Certainly warranted, as an audience member, KT felt burdened to feel something when she was on the screen. It was emotionally draining. And we didn’t know why until two thirds of the film.
  • If you were wondering where Maxine and Kyle went from Living Single, they were placed in this movie.
  • We were forced to feel at every scence. Forced emotional connection. If you’re making so many emotional statements than which one stands out? Where do we deposit our emotional resonance?

Unrelated but vital points

  • Usually when we watch a movie in cinema we come home and record straight away but we let the dust settle for a few days.
  • Bokeen Woodbine is being added to KT’s list of cool names.
  • One KT tear amounts to 100 Oti tears.
  • Carry on my Wayward son singalong.

For Your Reference


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