Queen and Slim: A Thought-Provoking Thriller

(from left) Slim (Daniel Kaluuya) and Queen (Jodie Turner-Smith) in Queen & Slim, directed by Melina Matsoukas.

Queen and Slim is a thought-provoking thriller that will have movie goers looking at the outlaws-on-the-run in a different perspective.

Tonally, there is a lot to say about this film.  The film starts out with us sitting in on a Tinder date between a retail employee (Daniel Kaluuya) and a criminal defense attorney (Jodie Turner-Smith).  That she is a criminal defense attorney lends an extra layer to what unfolds shortly thereafter.  Take it as what you will but with the way it starts, you’d have thought this film would be a laugh riot.  Nope.  Not even close.  It’s not even a few minutes after all the laughter until a racist white cop pulls them over and they soon find themselves on the run.  It’s a scenario that nobody wants to find themselves in.  And yet, you can’t help but empathize with them given their situation.

One minute, they’re on a first date in Ohio.  The next minute, they’re headed on the run towards New Orleans to visit her uncle, Earl (Bokeem Woodbine).  From there, who knows.  Neither one of them exactly has a plan in mind.  What we do learn throughout the film is that while they are fugitives on the run, they are also seen as heroes.

Queen and Slim isn’t a film that one can just jot down their thoughts in a matter of minutes.  It’s a film that must be ruminated on over the course of a few days.  One thing that is interesting about watching the film is the lack of naming the lead characters until near the end.  It’s a perplexing decision but one sees what screenwriter Lena Waithe is going for.

As far as the screenplay goes, this is one of those films that continues to let us in on the pertinent background information.  By allowing us to take in information in this way is a benefit to the film.  Just when you think you know everything there is to know, BOOM!  They tell us something important that makes us re-consider our thoughts on feelings on something else that happened earlier in the film.  I could expand on these thoughts but then I would be diving into spoiler territory.

There is a point in the film in which Queen and Slim are referenced as being the Black Bonnie and Clyde.  It’s not a bad comparison in that this is also a road movie with people on the run.  However, this is more than just a movie about people being on the run.  At the end of the day, the film is asking us to think.

DIRECTOR:  Melina Matsoukas
CAST:  Daniel Kaluuya, Jodie Turner-Smith, Bokeem Woodbine, Chloë Sevigny, Flea, Sturgill Simpson, Indya Moore

Universal Pictures opens Queen and Slim in theaters on November 27, 2019. Grade: 3.5/5

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.