Love Jones (film)
|Directed by||Theodore Witcher|
|Written by||Theodore Witcher|
|Produced by||Amy Henkels|
James Giovannetti Jr.
|Edited by||Maysie Hoy|
|Music by||Darryl Jones|
|Distributed by||New Line Cinema|
|Box office||$12,782,749 (worldwide)|
Love Jones is a 1997 American romantic drama film written and directed by Theodore Witcher, in his feature film debut. It stars Larenz Tate, Nia Long, Isaiah Washington, Bill Bellamy, and Lisa Nicole Carson.
Although the movie received favorable critical reviews, it was not a financial success. It has, however, a cult following for its realistic characters and unorthodox take on the romance genre. It is Theodore Witcher's only directorial work to date.
In Chicago, Darius Lovehall (Larenz Tate) is a poet who is giving a reading at the Sanctuary, an upscale nightclub presenting jazz and poetry to a bohemian clientele. Shortly before his set, he meets Nina Mosley (Nia Long), a gifted photographer. They exchange small talk, and Darius makes his interest clear when he retitles his love poem "A Blues For Nina". A mutual attraction is sparked between them. Darius runs into Nina for the second time at the record store and asked her out for a drinks. Nina told him it was bad timing, but Darius wasn't taking no for an answer. He talks his friend Sheila (Bernadette Speakes) into letting him copy Nina's address from the check she wrote, goes to another record store to get the CD she was for and then shows up at her place unexpectedly to deliver the CD and ask her out for a second time. They have sex on the first date, but neither Darius or Nina are sure what to do next. Nina has just gotten out of a relationship and isn't sure if she still cares for her old boyfriend. Darius isn't sure whether or not to admit that he really cares for Nina.
Just as Darius dares to begin believing that Nina could be “the one,” Nina’s ex-beau Marvin (Khalil Kain) invites her to join him in New York to try to work things out. Nina contemplates using them. After a night with Darius, Nina tells him that she is going to New York because of unfinished business. More as a test of Darius’ feelings than as an earnest attempt to resolve things with Marvin, Nina leaves, only to return to find that Darius has been fooling around with another woman. At this, Nina steps out with Darius’ self-satisfied buddy Hollywood (Bill Bellamy), sparking a blowup between the men and a reconciliation between the lovers, which doesn’t last, requiring yet another separation and subsequent attempt to set things right.
- Larenz Tate — Darius Lovehall
- Nia Long — Nina Mosley
- Isaiah Washington — Savon Garrison
- Lisa Nicole Carson — Josie Nichols
- Bill Bellamy — Hollywood
- Leonard Roberts - Eddie Coles
- Bernadette Speakes - Sheila Downes (as Bernadette L. Clarke)
- Khalil Kain - Marvin Cox
The producers of the film said that they wanted to make a modern film about African-American life that did not use violence and recreational drugs as elements in the story.
On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds a 73% approval rating by critics and a higher audience rating (97%) that reflects its cult status.
Roger Ebert awarded the film 3 out of 4 stars, and expressed the view that "There is also a bow to the unconventional in the ending of his film. Many love stories contrive to get their characters together at the end. This one contrives, not to keep them apart, but to bring them to a bittersweet awareness that is above simple love. Some audience members would probably prefer a romantic embrace in the sunset, as the music swells. But Love Jones is too smart for that." He also noted on the acting: "It's hard to believe that Tate--so smooth, literate and attractive here--played the savage killer O-Dog in Menace II Society. Nia Long was Brandi, one of the girl friends, in Boyz n the Hood. Love Jones extends their range, to put it mildly".
James Berardinelli also awarded the film 3 out of 4 stars for ReelReviews, and he determined that "There are several reasons why this film works better than the common, garden-variety love story. To begin with, the setting and texture are much different than that of most mainstream romances. The culture, in which post-college African Americans mingle while pursuing careers and relationships, represents a significant change from what we're used to. The Sanctuary, the intimate Chicago nightclub where Darius and Nina meet, is rich in its eclectic, bluesy atmosphere. And Love Jones's dialogue is rarely trite. When the characters open their mouths, it usually is because they have something intelligent to say, not because they're trying to fill up dead air with meaningless words".
- Love Jones (soundtrack) — soundtrack to the film
- Love Jones: The Musical
- "Love Jones". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved October 19, 2011.
- "projectblaq.com". projectblaq.com.
- "'Love Jones' director Theodore Witcher hopes his departure film of the black experience opens Hollywood's eyes". 20 March 1997 – via LA Times.
- Seavor, Jim. "'love jones' is a fresh look at an oft-told tale." The Providence Journal. March 14, 1997. E03. Retrieved on February 11, 2012. "The people behind love jones say they wanted to make a contemporary film about African-American life that did not deal with guns and drugs"
- "Love Jones". Chicago Sun-Times.
- "Review: Love Jones". preview.reelviews.net.
- "11 Quotes From 'Love Jones' That Are Still Relevant 20 Years Later" – via Huffington Post.