Queen & Slim

Movie review by
Lynnette Nicholas, Common Sense Media
Queen & Slim Movie Poster Image
Romantic thriller has violence, but there's love, too.
  • R
  • 2019
  • 132 minutes

Parents say

age 18+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 15+
Based on 2 reviews

We think this movie stands out for:

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Love is courageously embraced in the darkest of circumstances. With compassion and teamwork, communities, family members, and a married couple help a young couple in their pursuit of refuge. Communities across the country unify in their support of a couple. Also includes message that just because someone is the same ethnicity/color as you, that doesn't necessarily mean that they think like you or will genuinely advocate for you.

Positive Role Models & Representations

A couple chooses love despite their fears. Another couple shows courage, compassion, empathy by taking a risk, opening their home to others in trouble. A mechanic extends compassion by quickly fixing a distressed couple's car. An uncle shows courage and teamwork by giving his niece refuge. A father shows unconditional love by not endangering his son. In context of representation of marginalized voices, "call girls" are presented as having good hearts and compassion in their gentle treatment of Queen and Slim. A woman forgives her uncle for murdering her mother. A Black man and Black woman advocate for each other on the deepest level, which is a positive counter-stereotype.

Violence

Many graphically violent scenes: A cop shoots an unarmed character in the leg, a character shoots a cop in self-defense, a kid kills a police officer, officers kill an armed kid, cops use gun force and take lives. Lots of blood and a death scene. 

Sex

Graphic sex scene between two consenting adults includes nudity (breasts, buttocks). Kissing. Women dressed in very revealing/suggestive clothing.

Language

Extreme, constant swearing includes "f--k," "bitch," "hos," "ass," the "N" word, "cop killers," and "motherf----rs."

Consumerism

Queen and Slim use a very expensive car that belongs to Queen's uncle.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Adult drinking in a night club/bar scene. Characters smoke marijuana in one scene, and there's a little cigarette smoking by adults.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Queen & Slim is an intense, mature romantic thriller starring Jodie Turner-Smith and Daniel Kaluuya and written by Lena Waithe. It's timely, provocative, and bold, and it deals with big, serious themes, including Black male vulnerability, the unspoken connectedness within many marginalized communities, the allyship that exists between veterans, the notion that "Black love" can heal, and the reality that not all activism is positive. There's also an underlying idea that just because someone is the same ethnicity or color as you, that doesn't necessarily mean that they think like you or will genuinely advocate for you. Several scenes include graphic violence, including guns and deaths. Bare body parts (including breasts and buttocks) are seen in a fairly graphic sex scene, and some women wear revealing/suggestive clothing. Characters drink and smoke (both pot and cigarettes), and there's constant extreme language, from "f--k" and "s--t' to the "N" word and more. Despite the movie's intensity, characters choose love in what some may consider to be a very dark situation, and they opt to live life without inhibition. And viewers get to see a Black man and Black woman advocate for each other on the deepest level, which is a positive counter-stereotype.

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User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byDicksone87 December 1, 2019

Great!!

This was another great movie!
Adult Written byTrust God November 29, 2019

No relation between facts and fiction

In my opinion the film was made to make people angry and by far have the disconnection from fact and friction .Total disaster.
Teen, 15 years old Written byBlackBaby00 December 1, 2019
Overall this movie was amazing, talks about problems we have in today’s society. There is a scene that goes on for about a minute or two where the protagonists... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byCuteface.dada November 30, 2019

What's the story?

Parents need to know that QUEEN & SLIM is a romantic thriller about a couple who become fugitives after their first date. Queen (Jodie Turner-Smith), a criminal defense lawyer, and Slim (Daniel Kaluuya), a retail worker, hit it off right away. But things take a tragic turn when they're pulled over for a minor traffic stop. Worried about his life as he's being arrested for doing nothing wrong, Slim ends up killing the police officer in self-defense. He and Queen decide that their best course of action is to flee the scene and go on the run. As they evade capture, they form an intense bond. Meanwhile, when a video of the incident goes viral, Queen and Slim become symbols for the terror, grief, and trauma of the victims and loved ones of racially motivated police violence.

Is it any good?

This film shows what can happen when excellent writing and a visionary female director come together. Under director Melina Matsoukas -- known for directing episodes of Insecure, Master of None, and music videos for powerful artists like Whitney Houston, Rihanna, Beyonce, Ciara, Solange, Lady Gaga, and more -- viewers get a glimpse of Black life from a rare, genuine, and honest perspective. With strong visual storytelling talent, Matsoukas harnesses the silent cry of marginalized voices and projects it on-screen in a gripping way. Though some scenes in Queen & Slim are violent, that violence is depicted in a justifiable way -- because the real lives of marginalized people can be violent, and not by their own choosing. It definitely matters that a Black woman is behind the lens of this type of film; it's possible that no other demographic could have orchestrated a story so infused with the unspoken cultural and racial nuances of America's Black folks. With a screenplay by the boundary-pushing Lena Waithe and a story by James Frey (who's known for writing candidly), Queen & Slim is unapologetically Black in its appeal.

In Queen & Slim, Black people save themselves. The misunderstood, the innocent, the guilty, the White allies, the good cops (as well as the bad) are all given space to be just who they are: flawed humans. As Slim, Kaluuya perfectly personifies Black male vulnerability and frailty and every man's desire to experience and have love. His performance is subtle, nuanced, and powerful, and the chemistry between him and Turner-Smith is electric. As Uncle Earl, Bokeem Woodbine is a study in character development. He shows great range as both a gentle pimp with a heart of gold and a shrewd veteran who hasn't yet shaken off his regrets. Chloe Sevigny is engaging as the stuffy wife of a husband (Michael Peter Balzary) who is loyal to a fellow veteran. Really, the entire cast is strong, and each individual character is well developed and makes a lasting impression. The many serene scenes of beautiful, rural Southern backroads provide a strong counterpoint to the seriousness of the circumstances at the heart of the story. The soundtrack is also spot on, paying homage to decades of Black music, from gospel singer Marvin Sapp's "The Best in Me" to the sounds of Raphael Saadiq and Bilal. In this film, there's a beauty in the ugly moments of life, which are portrayed in a way that's rarely seen in major feature films. Misguided activism, perceptions of innocence and guilt based on racial identity, and reaching for the freedom to live life without restraints are all addressed. This intense story has violence, sex/nudity, swearing, and adult drinking, but it also has powerful messages about humanity, race, and love. That makes it a compelling choice for parents to watch with older teens if they want them to have a broader understanding of the experiences of those who are often discriminated against by police, of relatives or friends from communities often marginalized or silenced in the media, or of anyone who's seen as "guilty" before a crime is ever committed.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about heroes. Many people in the movie see Queen and Slim as heroes. What are the characteristics of a hero? What are some different types of heroes? How do those traits vary depending on someone's history and culture?

  • In the film, Slim is told, "You don't look like a killer to me." In what ways do stereotypes shape the way that people view criminals? Should self-defense be considered a crime? 

  • Queen is a lawyer. Do you think that her professional experience informed the choices that she made when stepping into action with Slim? Can you give examples from the film of the ways in which Queen's knowledge helped her and Slim on their journey? In what ways does Queen show courage, teamwork, and love? What about Slim?

  • As a generalization, given the history of race relations in America, are people of color justified in their fear or lack of trust in the police? Do you think that the portrayal of marginalized people in the media influences the way that law enforcement officers respond to certain demographics?

  • Why is it important that this film was written and directed by women of color? How does representation both behind and in front of the camera contribute to authenticity in storytelling?

Movie details

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