Love Jones

Rank

Middle 40-60% of all time (see others with this rank)

Festival Year

1997 (click here to see all competition films from this year)

Category

Dramatic Competition

Cast

Larenz Tate, Nia Long, Isaiah Washington, Lisa Nicole Carson, Bill Bellamy

Non-Cast Credits

Theodore Witcher, Nick Wechsler, Jeremiah Samuels, Julia Chasman, Jay Stern, Amy Henkels Helena Echegoyen, Ernest Holzman, Maysie Hoy, Roger Fortune, Darryl Jones

Description

A beautiful woman crosses a smoke-filled, intimate nightclub. Sheathed in satin, she sidles up to the bar and quietly orders a glass of white wine,A man seated at the bar; who has watched her coming, catches her eye and voilŠ, l'amor fou. Have we seen it before? Absolutely. Do we tire of it? Never.This is love, romance, fascination,"love jones."

The man and woman in this film are Darius and Nina. He's a struggling writer/poet, she's a photographer.Their first date leads to a night of passionate sex, which Darius later proclaims was"the best thing since Michael Jordan's comeback," but"it ain't no love thing."Throughout the film, the two are bent on denying the love blossoming between them and through a series of mishaps and obstacles, it looks as if their relationship won't last long.Their friends (the secondary characters are wonderfully drawn) know better and encourage a reconciliation which lives up to the best of the romantic comedy genre.

Not only does first-time director Theodore Witcher focus on a side of the African-American community that is rarely captured on screen (he claims, "There is not one lethal weapon in the film") but he does so with a fresh, poignant honesty. Consequently, although his film is specific to educated, middle-class black life, it transcends this world to echo the universal need of finding one's soul mate while forever guarding against vulnerability and the fear of being wounded. In creating characters who reside in this tumult of emotions, Witcher creates an open dialogue on the sexual politics of the community; he delves into his male character's fear of powerful women (a scene in which both men and women discuss the she-god is quite wonderful) and develops women who are indeed empowered (Nina turns her camera on Darius and demands he strip). Also notable is the film's use of music: references to Charlie Parket; Al Green, and the Commodores inspire a sensual nostalgia and impart a timeless feeling to the romance at hand.

Reviewer

Andrea Alsberg (see other films reviewed by the same reviewer)

Film Takes Pace.