by Taylor Jenkins
The movie “Queen & Slim,” written by Lena Waithe and directed by Melina Matsoukas is without a doubt heart-wrenching and exciting all at once. Not only is it visually stunning, but the story is beautiful. If I’m being honest, I did not have high expectations because the whole black-man-getting-pulled-over-by-the-police is overrated and it’s been done before. Don’t get me wrong. Police brutality is a huge issue in America and that’s been showcased in movies and shows everywhere. People are definitely aware. We needed something different, with more purpose, that would really represent the depth of the system but also the beauty of black culture and not just the struggle. This movie did just that.
The movie starts with the characters Queen and Slim on a date and on their way home they are pulled over by the police. Slim is very respectful but the police officer is reaching, being aggressive, going through his trunk, arresting him.
Queen, who is a lawyer (which I love), gets out the car to defend Slim when she sees things are getting out of control and the officer shoots her in the leg. This results in Slim defending them and shooting the officer. They are runaways together the rest of the movie.
I thought it was gonna be heavy action, but it’s so much more. We watch them fall in love and lean on each other through a scary experience and it was extraordinary.
I love how the two main characters’ names are never said. It’s not necessary because 1. The title has their names in it; 2. This type of stuff doesn’t only happen every now and then; there is so much injustice for black people in America.
Although the film isn’t based on one true story, it’s based on numerous real headlines involving police violence. Director Matsoukas told The Atlantic in an article, “This is what it looks like on a Tuesday night … how your life can be turned around in two seconds.”
The movie was literally made to represent black folks, and in a positive light. In the movie when the main characters are trying to get to Cuba, a black police officer sees them and could easily tell his white co workers, turn them in, and get major brownie points, but instead he lets them go.
They go to a bar to dance and the bartender lets them know they have their support. With out having the black community to back them up, they wouldn’t have made it as far as they did.
Yes, the reason they eventually die was because a black man tricked them and sold them out but overall that sense of unity you get out of the movie is refreshing.
Lastly, when Queen and Slim are on the run they don’t have any money for gas or food so Slim takes a gun and attempts to rob a gas station and in the movie and says, “I’ll kill you.” But his hands are shaking and he can’t even make eye contact with the cashier.
That scene shows that black men do have humanity and don’t just kill people on sight. Not everyone has that mindset about black men but, unfortunately, a good amount of ignorant people would be surprised by that.
The soundtrack is absolutely amazing.
If they didn’t use the songs they did and place them in the scenes they did, it would not have been as good.
It fit TO THE T.
My favorite song off the actual soundtrack is “Queen & Slim” by Coast Contra and BJ the Chicago Kid. When Queen and Slim die at the end, they play “Doomed” by Moses Sumney. It wasn’t on the actual soundtrack, but it was perfect. I felt it in the pit of my stomach, to the very core. I’d never been so overwhelmed with emotions.
And while the song is playing all the people they crossed paths with while they were on the run are crying or just simply in shock. Then the one picture they took together (because they didn’t have phones on the run) was spray-painted by children. I was speechless.
I’m so grateful to the creators of this film for sharing something so special with the world.