Universal’s Queen & Slim doesn’t open in theaters until November 27, but the film, written by Lena Waithe and directed by Melina Matsoukas, is already causing a buzz.
While on a forgettable first date together in Ohio, a black man and a black woman, are pulled over for a minor traffic infraction. The situation escalates, with sudden and tragic results, when the man kills the police officer in self-defense. Terrified and in fear for their lives, the man, a retail employee, and the woman, a criminal defense lawyer, are forced to go on the run. But the incident is captured on video and goes viral, and the couple unwittingly becomes a symbol of trauma, terror, grief, and pain for people across the country.
As they drive, these two unlikely fugitives will discover themselves and each other in the direst and desperate of circumstances and will forge a deep and powerful love that will reveal their shared humanity and shape the rest of their lives. Joining a legacy of films such as Bonnie and Clyde and Thelma & Louise, Queen & Slim is a powerful, consciousness-raising love story that confronts the staggering human toll of racism and the life-shattering price of violence.
Queen & Slim, based on a story by A Million Little Pieces author James Frey, has drawn comparisons to Bonnie & Clyde. The film stars Daniel Kaluuya and Jodie Turner-Smith in the title roles.
As Matsoukas’s first feature film, she wanted the movie to be rooted in authenticity so that it will share the black experience, their struggle and their lives. She also points out that the film subverts the oppressive narrative that the black community is often faced with. “We come out as victors and not victims,” she said of Queen & Slim.
Matsoukas remarks that the movie represents a story of black love and black unity. Waithe said the movie shows “the humanity we have.” She points out that the film promotes empathy and human connection, something that many could afford these days when black people are getting killed for simply living their lives.
Waithe said that Queen & Slim isn’t pulling any punches and that she hasn’t seen anyone do a film like this before. “We are not putting this story through a white gaze,” she said.
Matsoukas punctuated that sentiment by adding, “You can’t create change unless you do something that’s provocative.”