As I was concerned about in the FIRST LOOK before seeing…
Queen & Slim ⭐️⭐️½
…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?