The film Queen & Slim written by Lena Waithe and produced by Melina Matsoukas is a provocative, timely drama of crime pursuit. It is a fearless reflection of the present day issues of race in America.
The movie’s opening scene is at a diner in Ohio where the main characters, Queen (Jodie Turner-Smith) and Slim (Daniel Kaluuya), are on a Tinder date that isn’t going well. Their lack of chemistry is apparent, and Slim ends up driving her home. On the way he is pulled over for alleged erratic driving, and the white police officer asks him to get out of the car.
Turbulent events ensue as the officer searches the boot of Slim’s car, and Slim ends up shooting the police officer in self-defence. Both main characters are educated upstanding citizens with no prior offences. After debating their options, Queen and Slim flee the scene and are on the run. Their first stop is New Orleans to get the help of Queen’s Uncle Earl (Bokeem Woodbine). While the pair are on the move and fighting for their lives, a beautiful love story develops between the two.
In an interview with O, The Oprah Magazine Waithe said, “I’ve always seen this kind of as a reverse slave escape narrative… they’re kind of on a journey on the Underground Railroad—the modern day Underground Railroad.”
The film focuses on many aspects of Black American History, and Matsoukas keeps the plot captivating and moving at a steady pace.
“We wanted Queen and Slim to represent all of us,” Matsoukas also told O during the Weeksville Heritage Center screening. “All of us women are Queens, and Slim is obviously a name that Black men are called quite frequently, and we wanted our community to see themselves reflected in these characters.”
The film is rated R—intended for adults—as it contains violence, sexuality, and some offensive language. As Queen and Slim are driving across America on the run from the police, the astounding cinematography evokes many emotions—fear, lust, and hope. The plot exceeds its genre tropes as it follows an equally beautiful and disturbing storyline. The film is just over two hours long, so buckle up and grab your blanket and popcorn to prepare for this drama flick.