The story of the decade. What was missing from all the Black Lives Matter campaigns, hashtags, and RIPs was the underlying backstories of love for Black men and Black women who had the unfortunate fate of being stopped by a white patrol officer. Universal’s Queen & Slim hits theaters on Thanksgiving weekend, the perfect outing for a Black family or anyone interested in the Black plight. You don’t feel like an audience member watching from the safety of your seat, you’re on the run as well. With every suspicious look, moments of clarity, or disillusioned outlook regarding their impending futures, you’re on the ride along with them, as the pair escape three states during a 6-day manhunt. The story-line hints to Callie Khouri’s themes in Thelma & Louise with a cross between Jay and Bey’s on the run tour. It’s fast-paced, heart-thumping, captures beautiful cinematography, and a downright relatable film. Melina Matsouska and Lena Waithe’s conjoined vision blends together like a perfect marriage. As for the on-screen chemistry, David Kaluuya and Jodie Turner-Smith, feel like those cousins that come over for Thanksgiving who you sneak out to drink with after dinner. They are an entire mood from the opening scene to the end. They are sexy, honest, and the best type of martyrs to ever be portrayed cinematically.
The film opens with their first date. They had only previously swiped right on Tinder. Their names are not revealed until the end of the movie. (THIS IS THE POINT YOU SHOULD CEASE READING. THIS IS YOUR SPOILER ALERT) As they leave the Ohio diner, Slim gets pulled over by a patrolman whose is clearly and very obviously on one. The cop fits the same description of officers that we’ve seen on too many dash cameras resulting in the deaths of unarmed Black males. He is annoyingly aggressive and highly racist. He winds up drawing his weapon and during a tussle shoots Queen in her leg, forcing Slim to react by reaching for his gun and shooting him in the chest. The altercation escalated so quickly it’s hard to make sense of what just transpired. A black man has killed a White cop. These are the facts.
On the run. Queen is an attorney. She not only understands the gravity of their circumstances, but she is also wise enough to think on her feet. Slim opts to ignorantly wait or call the cops. “We can’t just leave him here.” She forces him to get back in the car and she tosses both of their tracking devices or cellphones. Smart girl. Emotions are intense. The date is not over. They are strangers to one another. They have committed a crime in self-defense and they are carrying the weapon used in the shooting.
Where to run? Queen devises a plan to head south towards her pimp Uncle Earl’s 3rd Ward residence in New Orleans. They encounter a sheriff who stops to help them get gas on the side of the road. His radio goes off alerting nearby police forces to be aware of two armed Black assailants driving a White car that has killed a cop in Ohio. He ends up in the trunk of said car and they take his pick up truck. There are candid moments where the two are still trying to make sense of their current situations all while getting to learn about each other. “Why does people eating make you feel like you can’t eat?” Slim asks as they munch on fast food burgers. “I don’t know. It just does.” Queen is witty and sophisticated in her demeanor. But Slim makes her blush and consider a new perspective. His realness and honesty spook her repeatedly throughout the film as they morph into ride or dies for themselves, and for the culture.
Queen & Slim opens in theaters nationwide on November 27th. Check your local theaters for times and locations.