A Tinder date gone wrong is the springboard for a tense yet romantic road-trip evoking Bonnie & Clyde, set against the backdrop of contemporary racial injustices in the USA.
It stars two Brits: Get Out star Daniel Kaluuya, born in London of Ugandan parents, who won the BAFTA Rising Star Award in 2018; and Jodie Turner-Smith, born in Peterborough of Jamaican parents, who moved to America at a young age. Turner-Smith found success as a model before turning to acting – Queen & Slim is her feature film debut.
The film is also the debut of director Melina Matsoukas, a New Yorker of mixed Greek, Jewish, African-Cuban and African-Jamaican descent who made Beyonce’s Grammy-winning ‘Formation’ video. Unsurprisingly given her background in music videos (the subject of her graduate thesis at the American Film Institute), music is integral to the film. Matsoukas told Time she “wanted to bring the soundtrack back. I wanted to introduce the new generation to a lot of older Black artists, to honour the legacy of Black music and the diversity within it.”
Queen & Slim is written by Emmy-award winning screenwriter, producer and actress Lena Waithe (star of Netflix’s Master of None). Waithe explained in a 2019 NPR radio interview her motivation for writing it: “America is beautiful. But it’s also ugly – you know, underneath the surface … The movie is sort of a result of every conversation that I’ve ever had with every black person I’ve ever met. … this thing that came out of me, that I needed to get off my chest – but it was really like a hug I wanted to give black people.”
This entertaining, powerful film is WFC’s Black History Month 2020 screening. We are honoured to be joined by Merton Councillor Edith Macauley, who in 2002 was the first Black woman elected Mayor of Merton.
‘Anchored by the magnetism of Kaluuya and Turner-Smith, Queen & Slim crackles with urgent anger and provocative swagger. A road movie with a lot going on under the bonnet.’ Jimi Famurewa, Empire