I just saw the film “Queen and Slim” by black female directors Lena Waithe and Melina Matsoukas and I’m full of emotions. The film stars Daniel Kaluuya and Jodie Turner-Smith playing “Queen” and “Slim.” This is the kind of film that you’ll want to see for yourself and discuss afterwards with family and friends because everyone has a different take away.
I have so many emotions and feelings about the characters and the film and the symbolism. The movie is an emotional roller coaster and I recommend adults to bring tissues to watch the long two hour Rated-R film for yourself and then come back to the blog to read. (SPOILER ALERT) We did not know the name of the main characters until the tragic ending of the film. The couples names revealed at the end on the news were revealed to be “Angela/Queen” and “Ernest/Slim.” Although the film is called “Queen and Slim” those weren’t the couples names and I don’t recall the characters referencing one another’s names on the date or through the film. People online have been calling the film “The Black Bonnie and Clyde”, but “Bonnie” and “Clyde” were actual white criminals on the run. Whereas the main characters in this film aren’t technically criminals on the run, but a black couple in the U.S. with no criminal record in America acting in self-defense.
As you know the film is about a black couple going on their first date and things turn for the worst when they are pulled over by a racist white male police officer. Things turn for the worst when the white police officer aims his gun at the black couple and a verbal altercation and fight breaks out between the black couple and the white officer. The officer shoots the gun at ”Angela/Queen” and the bullet grazes her thigh causing her to bleed and ”Ernest/Slim” starts fighting the police officer eventually the fight ends when ”Slim/Ernest” reaches for the gun killing the officer. The couple who met on a smartphone dating app immediately throw their phones out and flee the crime scene and go on the run eventually stopping in Louisiana at “Queen/Angela’s” uncle’s house as a place of refuge.
I wondered if “Angela/Queen” would have never said anything to the cop would things have turned out differently? Who knows? One night literally changed two strangers, “Queen & Slim”’s, lives forever. In my opinion, the film is a heartbreaking reality for many of being black in America and having unfair interactions with the police. The police officer’s camera was on and recorded the incident and it received thousands of views on social media so “everyone” knows that they’re on the run. “Angela/Queen” is a lawyer and got her uncle out of jail for accidentally killing her mother years ago. In return, ”Queen/Angela”’s uncle, who happens to be a pimp, helps her and ”Ernest/Slim” flee. “Angela/Queen’s” uncle knows a white couple in Savannah that can help them escape. The white couple fixes dinner for “Queen & Slim”, but immediately after prayer at dinner, the cops surround the white couple’s home. The white couple immediately tells “Queen & Slim” to hide under the bed floor. The cops search the house and don’t find them. Eventually, after some time passes “Queen & Slim” escape from the bedroom floor by jumping out of the window. While jumping out of the window ”Angela/Queen” hurts her shoulder. ”Slim/Ernest” helps push ”Queen/Angela”’s shoulder back in the socket in the garage. Slim hotwired the car in the white couple’s garage and all of a sudden a black police officer opens the garage door, but he lets them go free. Eventually, the couple makes it to the airplane to go to Cuba with help from a black man who drops them off at the runway, and as they are walking about to board the aircraft we see the police show up and we learn the black guy turned them in for the police reward money. So sad how some times people that look like you aren’t always for you.
I was heartbroken about the deaths of “Queen/Angela” and “Slim/Ernest.” I really thought “Queen/Angela” would live and could possibly be “Slim/Ernest’s” legacy and possibly have his legacy, but she is shot by a white female officer and seconds later “Slim/Ernest” picks up “Angela/Queen’s” lifeless body and he is also shot to death by the cops. That particular scene reminds me of when “Cleo” dies in the 90’s film “Set it Off”. I knew the story wouldn’t be “happily ever after”, yet I didn’t want to see them be murdered. They left an impact and legacy through their deaths. Throughout the film “Angela/Queen” is physically hurt from the police officer’s shot in her thigh, to hurting her shoulder, to dying at the end from another officer’s bullet. Was this an example of how black women endure so much pain? I’m not sure, yet “Queen & Slim”’ were there for one another and grew a bond throughout the film. Maybe the movie is about the journey and the ups and downs of different types of love between black men and black women? “Slim/Ernest” called his father on the car mechanic’s
telephone. He had a father and a relationship with family and missed him whereas “Queen/Angela”’ has nothing to lose and no close friends or family connections so she was never hesitant about leaving the crime scene or fleeing to never return again. “Angela/Queen” becomes more vulnerable when “Slim/Ernest” and her take a detour and go dancing, see the horses, and go to the graveyard to see her mother’s tombstone and eventually have sex in the car.
I thought the one scene with the young teenage boy shooting the black police officer was disturbing, but did he want to be “immortal” or be “famous” like “Queen & Slim”?! I also learned from the film that how in life you’ll never know who may help you. The people that may help you won’t always look like you or live like you. I also learned that opposites attract. “Queen” and “Slim” had opposite personalities, but they fit one another and fall in “love.” I don’t know how this film will be received by the public or by movie critics. I appreciated the attention to detail and how the film left certain things up for your own interpretation. I left the theater in a sad, yet thoughtful trance. I had to watch a cartoon or something happy afterwards! Some people may say it’s the best or the worst, but all I know is that it’s a piece of art that can be dissected, debated, and discussed for years to come.