Ah, the indie flick, I always like it when a totally unknown writer and/or director rises to prominence as the movies they make are a flavor unique to themselves and not something controlled by the studios or popular trends. Not all of their movies might be good (arguably) but you know whatever they put out they’ll have a greater tendency to stay true to themselves and create something that is their own creative vision. It’s always interesting to see the first movie they did that put them on the map and transformed them into Hollywood Superstars.
Here is the first many hand-rolled Spike Lee Joints. This one is about a woman named Nola who starts dating three different men at the same time. It’s done through a series of documentary-style interviews, mixed with character-heavy short scenes, it creates a comprehensive, non-linear story that is, to say the least, never boring. Its story is one that explores human sexuality to create a drama that feels real.
The story is very smartly written. It doesn’t meander on parts that aren’t important to the story, keeping the scenes tight which I appreciate. Actually the pacing throughout the movie is pretty good. Though I feel one part, the part in color in the park (oh, this movie is black and white, by the way), feels not only out of place not only in pacing but in that it feels somewhat fantastical in this otherwise realistic storyline. Also, some of the pacing is odd in points, and some feel a little repetitive in what we already know is going on with the stories and characters.
The soundtrack is also really good. It has a mix of many genres that range from jazz to African tribal music. It’s used well in the scenes their in and stands out throughout the film.
This isn’t really a plus or minus for me but there are a lot of somewhat graphic sex scenes throughout the film. They’re artistic, and maybe they ought to be there as this is a movie that’s mostly about sex, but they don’t really add to the story in any meaningful way.
Why you should watch it before you die: If you’re a fan of independent films, or films that explore human relationships and sexuality, or just want to see where Spike Lee got his start, then this film is recommended.
+7.5: A good drama about relationships
+1: good story
+1: good soundtrack
-1: Weird pacing issues
-1: Odd musical number in the middle of the film