Review: ‘Queen & Slim’ a movie for our times

The main characters Queen and Slim (Daniel Kalluuya and Jodie Turner-Smith). Photo courtesy IndieWire

The movie “Queen & Slim,” which became available on HBOMax last month, offers afraction of the harsh reality that we as Black citizens in America have to go through on a daily basis when interacting with law enforcement.

“Queen & Slim” was written by Lena Waithe and James Frey and debuted in November 2019. The film grossed $40 million and received more than 30 award nominations.

 It takes viewers on an emotional rollercoaster as the two stars of the movie ,Daniel Kalluuya and Jodie Turner-Smith, become fugitives after an altercation with a white police officer during a routine traffic spot that resulted in the officer being shot with his own service pistol.

The film magnified the micro aggressions Black Americans have to deal with when having an encounter with the police. As I watched this scene I developed anxiety, shaking with fear as the events escalated. The film took a turn when Slim chooses to defend himself with the police officer’s weapon and shoots the officer, leaving him fatally wounded. As Queen gets out of the vehicle she discovers what events took place and suggests that because she is a lawyer and this was self defense that this incident can be explained. As Slim explains, he is a Black man in America and no one will believe his point of view. They quickly decide to go on the run.

This film felt like it was romanticizing police brutality. This year alone sparked international civil rights protests by and for Black Americans. Movements like Black Lives Matter highlight the genocide Black men and women face every day, while this movie merely showed how lively it was to be “on the run” as the couple crosses state lines to try to reach freedom in Cuba. The couple’s romance intensifies as the authorities begin to close in on them. As the couple’s bond grows, news outlets broadcast updates on the two fugitives. With the use of social media the Black community begins to view them as heroes for their boldness to fight back against a system that usually condemns them.

The film scored 82 percent out of 100 on the movie review platform, Rotten Tomatoes. One reviewer noted there are a few controversial moments in the movie as Queen and Slim begin to be viewed as community heroes.

“There are a couple questionable moments later in the film involving the pair as inspiration where I wish the film had perhaps been a little less ambiguous over what I’m supposed to draw,” the Rotten Tomatoes reviewer wrote.

 “Queen & Slim” does an amazing job showcasing the unity that is shared among the Black community. There are various scenes where they are hidden and supported by strangers, simply because the African American community wanted the duo to be successful making it to Cuba.