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55. Queen & Slim; movie review

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Title : 55. Queen & Slim; movie review
link : 55. Queen & Slim; movie review

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Cert 15
132 mins
BBFC advice: Contains strong language, sex, nudity, violence, threat

I am too old to be riled by much but the Academy Award nominations are frustrating me more and more as the weeks go on.
In 2017, I feared that Moonlight won best picture was because the judges felt under pressure to select a movie with an all-black cast.
In my view, it wasn't worthy of nomination, let alone to be hailed as the best of 2016.
However, I believe that this year, the Academy didn't have to court any controversy by nominating all-black movies because in Just Mercy and Queen & Slim they would have been rewarding superb film-making.
It is a cruel disappointment that neither has a single nomination.
Queen & Slim is a truly remarkable feature debut by Melina Matsoukas who has two British actors (Jodie Turner-Smith and Daniel Kaluuya) playing the title roles.
I was left wondering what the African-American community would make of homegrown actors being passed over.
Nevertheless, both are terrific as young people whose clumsy first date turns into a fatal run-in with a white police officer.
Despite being law-abiding innocents they end up being public enemy number one, trying to outrun the police across the United States.
Queen & Slim has the institutional racism of American police forces at its core but it has so many more strands than that.
Indeed, it turns into an unlikely love story between the quick-lipped lawyer (Turner-Smith) and a quiet and devout family man (Kaluuya).
Meanwhile, the reaction of the country to the notorious young couple adds a fascinating dimension.
And the drama is played out to one of the finest soundtracks I have heard at the cinema for a very long time, ranging from Luther Vandross to Duke Wellington and Lauryn Hill to Roy Ayers and a host of artists of who I didn't recognise.
Could this really happen in America? Is prejudice really that obvious?
If not, why would it be so consistently overplayed in movies? If so, it is truly shocking.

Reasons to watch: Riveting drama, brilliantly acted
Reasons to avoid: Shocking scenes

Laughs: A couple of chuckles
Jumps: One
Vomit: None
Nudity: Yes
Overall rating: 9/10

Did you know? This is Melina Matsoukas's movie debut but she has a long history of music videos for the likes of Beyonce, Christina Aguilera, Rhianna, Solange, Kylie Minogue and Leona Lewis.

The final word. Melina Matsoukas: "It was important for me to promote black unity and promoting black queens and kings being together and lifting each other up. I don’t see that represented on screen and I don’t see that represented in life." Refinery 29

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