Queen & Slim

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Queen & Slim
Queen & Slim poster.jpeg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byMelina Matsoukas
Produced by
  • Lena Waithe
  • Melina Matsoukas
  • Michelle Knudsen
  • Andrew Coles
  • Brad Weston
  • Pamela Abdy
Screenplay byLena Waithe
Story by
Music byDevonté Hynes
CinematographyTat Radcliffe
Edited byPete Beaudreau
  • 3BlackDot
  • Bron Creative
  • Makeready
  • De La Revolución Films
  • Hillman Grad Productions
Distributed byUniversal Pictures
Release date
  • November 14, 2019 (2019-11-14) (AFI Fest)
  • November 27, 2019 (2019-11-27) (United States)
Running time
132 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
Budget$17–20 million[2][3]
Box office$46.6 million[4][5]

Queen & Slim is a 2019 American romantic crime drama film directed by Melina Matsoukas (in her feature directorial debut) and written by Lena Waithe, from a story by James Frey and Waithe. The film stars Daniel Kaluuya, Jodie Turner-Smith, Bokeem Woodbine, Chloë Sevigny, Flea, Sturgill Simpson and Indya Moore. The plot follows two African-Americans who go on the run after killing a police officer during a traffic stop gone wrong.

Queen & Slim had its world premiere at the AFI Fest on November 14, 2019 and was theatrically released in the United States on November 27, 2019, by Universal Pictures. It received generally positive reviews from critics and has grossed $46 million.


A criminal defense attorney, Queen, has an awkward dinner with her Tinder date Slim - in an Ohio diner. Slim drives Queen home afterwards; his supposedly erratic driving attracts the attention of a police officer, who pulls the two over and makes Slim step out of the car after not complying with his orders. The agitated and aggressive officer draws his gun on Slim, and when Queen gets out and tries to record the incident on her phone, he shoots at her, grazing her leg. Slim tackles the officer before grabbing his gun and shooting him. Queen tells Slim that they either have to go on the run or will spend the rest of their lives in prison. When they run out of gas, the pair flags down a pickup truck for help. The driver, Edgar, turns out to be a sheriff in Kentucky. At the gas station, Edgar gets a notice on his radio about the Ohio officer's death and identifies Queen and Slim as the suspects. They hold Edgar at gunpoint and steal his truck, trapping him in their broken-down car's trunk.

Queen and Slim travel to New Orleans to go to the house of her estranged Uncle Earl, a pimp, for help. Although Earl is reluctant, Queen convinces him to aid them since she helped him avoid jail for killing her mother. Slim proposes that they escape to Cuba, and Earl tells them that when he was serving in Iraq, he saved the life of a Mr. Shepherd who would be able to help them get there from Miami. Queen and Slim eventually take one of Earl's cars and head towards Florida. As they continue their drive in the morning, the couple's car breaks down. They take it to a black mechanic whose teenaged son, Junior, expresses his admiration for them, who have now become widely recognisable and a symbol.

The next day, Queen visits her mother’s grave with Slim and shares her grief over the relationship she had with her mother, and the two have sex in their car. Elsewhere, at a protest in support of Queen and Slim, Junior pulls a gun on a black officer and impulsively shoots him in the face, and is subsequently killed. Queen and Slim go to the home of the Shepherds, but when a neighbor recognizes them, a SWAT team shows up outside, and the Shepherds have Queen and Slim hide in a crawlspace under the bed in their room. As they go to take a spare car from the Shepherds' garage, a black officer stumbles upon them, but lets them go.

A man who spots their car one morning leads them to a friend with a plane that can get them away. He drives them to the tarmac, but as the two walk toward the plane, a squad of cops corner them. An overzealous cop then shoots Queen in the chest, instantly killing her. Devastated, Slim picks up her corpse and carries her toward the cops, leading them to gun him down as well. News of the tragic end to the manhunt is publicized everywhere, and the couple's real names are made public. Hundreds of civilians attend their funerals and view them as martyrs and heroes.



On July 19, 2018, it was announced that production company Makeready had won a bidding war to co-finance the dramatic thriller film Queen & Slim, scripted by Lena Waithe from an original idea by James Frey, which would star Daniel Kaluuya and be directed by Melina Matsoukas.[6] In November 2018, Jodie Turner-Smith was cast to star opposite Kaluuya.[7] In March 2019, Chloë Sevigny joined the cast of the film.[8]

Principal photography began in January 2019.[9][10] Production concluded on March 22, 2019.[11]


The score album for Queen & Slim was composed by English musician Devonté Hynes.[12] Choosing the score composer, Matsoukas stated she wanted a "black composer that could live between classical, hip-hop, and pop that's current", further asking "Who would be our current Quincy Jones?". Matsoukas then turned to Solange Knowles for advice, Knowles suggested Hynes.[13]


Queen & Slim had its world premiere at the AFI Fest on November 14, 2019.[14] It was theatrically released in the United States on November 27, 2019, by Universal Pictures. It is scheduled to be released in the United Kingdom in January 2020.[15]


Box office[edit]

In the United States and Canada, Queen & Slim was released alongside Knives Out, and was projected to gross $12–16 million from 1,625 theaters over its five-day opening weekend.[2] It made $1.7 million on its first day, Wednesday, and $2.4 million on Thursday, which was Thanksgiving Day. It went on to gross $11.9 million during its opening weekend (a five-day total of $16 million), finishing fourth at the box office.[16] In its second weekend the film made $6.5 million (a drop of 45%), remaining in fourth.[17]

Critical response[edit]

Review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported an approval rating of 83% based on 180 reviews, with an average rating of 7.44/10. The site's critics consensus reads, "Stylish, provocative, and powerful, Queen & Slim tells a gripping fugitive story steeped in timely, thoughtful subtext."[18] Metacritic, another review aggregator, assigned the film a weighted average score of 74 out of 100 based on 43 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews."[19] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A–" on an A+ to F scale, while those at PostTrak gave it an average 5 out of 5 stars, with 79% saying they would definitely recommend it.[16]

Mark Kermode of The Guardian assigned the film four out of five stars writing: "in the end it’s the love story that makes the film matter, conjured with enough electricity to allow the polemics of the head to be swept along by the passions of the heart."[20] Johnny Oleksinki of New York Post praised Daniel Kaluuya and Jodie Turner-Smith's lead performances.[21] Adam White of The Independent labelled it "simultaneously beautiful and troubling" and praised Melina Matsoukas' directing.[22]


List of Accolades
Award / Film Festival Year Recipient Nomination Result
African-American Film Critics Association 2019[23] Melina Matsoukas, Lena Waithe and James Frey Impact Award Won
Top 10 Best Films Won
Alliance of Women Film Journalists Awards 2020[24] Jodie Turner-Smith Best Woman’s Breakthrough Performance Nominated
Austin Film Critics Association Awards 2020 Melina Matsoukas Best First Film Nominated
Black Film Critics Circle Awards 2019[25] Melina Matsoukas, Lena Waithe and James Frey Best Picture Nominated
Lena Waithe Best Original Screenplay Won
Black Reel Awards 2020[26] Melina Matsoukas, Lena Waithe and James Frey Outstanding Motion Picture Nominated
Melina Matsoukas Outstanding Director Nominated
Outstanding Emerging Director Won
Jodie Turner-Smith Outstanding Actress Nominated
Outstanding Breakthrough Performance, Female Nominated
Daniel Kaluuya Outstanding Actor Nominated
Lena Waithe Outstanding Screenplay Nominated
Outstanding First Screenplay Won
Dev Hynes Outstanding Score Nominated
Tad Radcliffe Outstanding Cinematography Won
Shiona Turini Outstanding Costume Design Nominated
Karen Murphy Outstanding Production Design Nominated
"Collide" (by Tiana Major9 & Earth Gang) Outstanding Original Song Won
"Guarding the Gates" (by Lauryn Hill) Nominated
Costume Designers Guild Awards 2020[27] Shiona Turini Excellence in Contemporary Film Nominated
Directors Guild of America Awards 2020[28] Melina Matsoukas Outstanding Directing – First-Time Feature Film Nominated
Florida Film Critics Circle Awards 2019[29] Melina Matsoukas Best First Film Won
Guild of Music Supervisors Awards 2020[30] Kier Lehman Best Music Supervision for Film Pending
Hawaii Film Critics Society Awards 2020 Melina Matsoukas Best First Film Nominated
Best New Filmaker Nominated
Hollywood Music in Media Awards 2019 Kier Lehman Outstanding Music Supervision - Film Nominated
Queen & Slim Soundtrack Best Soundtrack Album Nominated
Los Angeles Online Film Critics Society Awards 2019 Melina Matsoukas Best First Feature Nominated
Motion Picture Sound Editors Awards 2020 Joseph S. DeBeasi Outstanding in Sound Editing - Music Score for Feature Film Nominated
NAACP Image Awards 2020[31] Queen & Slim Outstanding Motion Picture Pending
Outstanding Ensemble Cast in a Motion Picture Pending
Outstanding Independent Motion Picture Pending
Daniel Kaluuya Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture Pending
Jodie Turner-Smith Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture Pending
Outstanding Breakthrough Performance in Motion Picture Pending
Queen & Slim Soundtrack Outstanding Soundtrack/Compilation Album Pending
National Board of Review 2019 Melina Matsoukas Best Directorial Debut Won
Online Association of Female Film Critics 2019[32] Melina Matsoukas Breakthrough Filmmaker Nominated
Online Film Critics Society Awards 2019[33] Melina Matsoukas Best Debut Feature Nominated
Rotten Tomatoes Awards 2020[34] Queen & Slim Favorite Movie - Fan's Choice Pending
St. Louis Film Critics Association Awards 2020[35] Lena Waithe and James Frey Best Original Screenplay Nominated
Toronto Film Critics Association Awards 2020[36] Melina Matsoukas Best First Feature Nominated

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Queen & Slim". AFI Fest. Retrieved October 30, 2019.
  2. ^ a b D'Alessandro, Anthony (November 25, 2019). "'Frozen 2' To Near $284M By Next Sunday, 'Knives Out' Could Touch $30M – Thanksgiving B.O. Preview". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved November 25, 2019.
  3. ^ Yohana Desta (October 22, 2019). "Lena Waithe Hopes Queen & Slim Makes Trump Mad: "I Look Forward to That Tweet"". Vanity Fair. Retrieved November 11, 2019.
  4. ^ "Queen & Slim (2019)". The Numbers. Retrieved January 31, 2020.
  5. ^ "Queen & Slim (2019)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved January 31, 2020.
  6. ^ Fleming, Mike, Jr. (July 19, 2018). "Makeready Sets 'Queen & Slim'; Daniel Kaluuya Stars, Melina Matsoukas Directs Lena Waithe Script". Deadline. Retrieved July 22, 2018.
  7. ^ Kroll, Justin (November 8, 2018). "Jodie Smith-Turner to Star Opposite Daniel Kaluuya in 'Queen & Slim' (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved November 8, 2018.
  8. ^ Bentley, Jean (March 22, 2019). "HOW TRUE-CRIME HORROR STORY THE ACT CAME TO LIFE". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved March 22, 2019.
  9. ^ "Queen and Slim". Production List. 2018-12-17. Retrieved January 1, 2019.
  10. ^ "Queen & Slim". Backstage. Retrieved January 17, 2019.
  11. ^ "Queen & Slim". filmneworleans.org. Retrieved March 22, 2019.
  12. ^ Strauss, Matthew (November 19, 2019). "Devonté Hynes (aka Blood Orange) Details Queen & Slim Album, Shares New Songs: Listen". Pitchfork. Retrieved February 15, 2020.
  13. ^ Chow, Andrew R. (November 22, 2019). "How Queen and Slim's Filmmakers Captured the Past, Present and Future of Black Music". Time. Retrieved February 15, 2020.
  14. ^ Sharf, Zack (August 27, 2019). "AFI FEST 2019 Sets 'Queen & Slim' World Premiere for Opening Night". IndieWire. Retrieved August 27, 2019.
  15. ^ "QUEEN & SLIM In Cinemas in January 2020". Filmoria.co.uk. 2019-09-13. Retrieved 13 September 2019.
  16. ^ a b D'Alessandro, Anthony (December 1, 2019). "'Frozen 2' Scores Second Best Wednesday For November & Animated Pic With Near $24M, 'Knives Out' Earns $8M+: Thanksgiving B.O." Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved December 1, 2019.
  17. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (December 8, 2019). "'Frozen 2' Leads Dreary December Weekend With $34M+, 'Playmobil' Plunges To $670K – Sunday Update". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved December 8, 2019.
  18. ^ "Queen & Slim (2019)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved December 31, 2019.
  19. ^ "Queen & Slim Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved December 27, 2019.
  20. ^ Kermode, Mark; critic, Observer film (2020-02-02). "Queen & Slim review – love on the run across the US racial divide". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2020-02-04.
  21. ^ Oleksinski, Johnny (2019-11-25). "'Queen & Slim' film review: A heartbreaking road trip". New York Post. Retrieved 2020-02-04.
  22. ^ "Queen & Slim struggles to meld its beauty with its politics – review". The Independent. 2020-01-30. Retrieved 2020-02-04.
  23. ^ "Jordan Peele's 'Us' Named Best Film by African-American Film Critics Association 2019". hollywoodreporter.com. October 10, 2019. Retrieved December 14, 2019.
  24. ^ "Alliance of Women Film Journalists Awards 2020 Nominations". awfj.org. Retrieved January 6, 2020.
  25. ^ "The 2019 Black Film Critics Circle (BFCC) Winners". Retrieved 29 December 2019.
  26. ^ "Black Reel Awards 2020". Retrieved 13 December 2019.
  27. ^ "Awards2020". Costume Designers Guild. Retrieved February 1, 2020.
  28. ^ Jackson, Angelique (January 7, 2020). "Directors Guild Nominees Include Bong Joon Ho, Sam Mendes, Taika Waititi". Variety. Retrieved January 9, 2020.
  29. ^ "Florida Film Critics Circle Awards 2019 - Winners". Retrieved 29 December 2019.
  30. ^ "Guild of Music Supervisors 2020 Nominates Beyonce, Regina Spektor, Mary Steenburgen and More". Retrieved 11 January 2020.
  31. ^ "NAACP | NOMINEES ANNOUNCED FOR 51st NAACP IMAGE AWARDS". NAACP. 2020-01-09. Retrieved 2020-01-09.
  32. ^ "Online Association of Female Film Critics 2019 Awards". Retrieved 29 December 2019.
  33. ^ "Online Film Critics Society 2019 Awards (23RD ANNUAL)". Retrieved 29 December 2019.
  34. ^ "Rottoen Tomatoes Awards 2020". Retrieved January 17, 2020.
  35. ^ "StLFCA Awards 2020". Retrieved 13 December 2019.
  36. ^ "StLFCA Awards 2020". Retrieved 13 December 2019.

External links[edit]