Queen & Slim
|Queen & Slim|
|Directed by||Melina Matsoukas|
|Screenplay by||Lena Waithe|
|Music by||Devonté Hynes|
|Edited by||Pete Beaudreau|
|Distributed by||Universal Pictures|
|Box office||$47.9 million|
Queen & Slim is a 2019 American romantic road crime drama film directed by Melina Matsoukas (in her feature directorial debut) and with a screenplay by Lena Waithe from a story by James Frey and Waithe. The film's story centers on a young Black couple (Daniel Kaluuya and Jodie Turner-Smith) who go on the run after accidentally killing a racist police officer during a traffic stop. Bokeem Woodbine, Chloë Sevigny, Flea, Sturgill Simpson and Indya Moore also star.
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 largely positive reviews, with praise for Kaluuya and Turner-Smith's lead performances, Waithe's script, Matsouka's direction and its overall theme and message. It was a success at the box office, grossing $47 million on a $20 million budget.
In 2019, after a client of hers is executed by the state, “Queen”, a black criminal defense attorney, has an awkward and disappointing dinner with her Tinder date “Slim“ in an Ohio diner. As he drives her home from what will be their one and only date, they are pulled over by a white police officer who searches Slim and his trunk without cause. When Slim mildly asks the officer to hurry as it is cold outside, the officer draws his gun on Slim. Queen angrily gets out to confront the officer, reaching for her phone, and he shoots her in the leg. Slim tackles the officer and a scuffle ensues, resulting in Slim grabbing the officer's gun and shooting him dead. Taking the gun and throwing away their phones, Queen tells Slim they must go on the run or else spend their lives in prison.
Out of gas, they flag down a passing latino driver, Edgar, who turns out to be a Kentucky sheriff. He receives an APB about the officer's death and realizes Queen and Slim are the suspects. They take his truck at gunpoint, leaving him in the trunk of Slim's car, despite his offering to help them. They pay a young black boy to order them food, and he reveals that dashcam footage of their confrontation with the officer has gone viral. They accidentally strike the boy's father with the truck, but he is supportive of their actions — the police officer Slim shot having killed an unarmed black man two years earlier — and they drive him to a hospital. Slim has an unsettling encounter with a gas station clerk after letting him hold the gun.
They arrive in New Orleans at the house of Queen's estranged Uncle Earl, a pimp, and Slim proposes they escape to Cuba. After a police officer notices their truck, Earl gives them money and another car to reach Johnny Shepherd, a friend whose life he saved while serving overseas. Queen and Slim bond while dancing at a bar, where they are recognized by sympathetic locals, and stop to admire a horse by the road. Their car breaks down, forcing them to give all their money to a black mechanic, whose teenage son Junior expresses his admiration for them; Slim has Junior take their picture.
Slim calls his father, who cuts the call short; it is revealed that law enforcement was listening in, but his father refuses to cooperate. Queen takes Slim to visit the grave of her mother, who was accidentally killed by Earl during a disagreement; Queen successfully defended him in her first trial. Slim comforts Queen, and they have sex in the car. At a protest in support of the fugitives, Junior is urged to leave by a compassionate black officer, whom he impulsively shoots in the face, and is himself killed.
Queen and Slim reach the home of Shepherd and his wife, who reveal that a $500,000 bounty has been placed on them, and Shepherd gives them directions to a man in Florida. A neighbor sees them arrive, and a SWAT team raids the house but fails to find them, hidden in a crawlspace under the Shepherds' bed. The next day, they sneak out of the house through a window and Queen dislocates her shoulder, which Slim resets, but her cry alerts a black officer stationed outside. He discovers them about to flee in the Shepherds' car but lets them escape.
They reach the Florida address and sleep in the car, awakened in the morning by a black man with a shotgun. They follow him to his trailer where he makes a call, telling them a friend can help them escape by plane. He drives them to the tarmac and Queen and Slim walk toward a waiting plane, but a squad of police cars arrive on the scene. Joining hands, they declare their love for each other, but Queen is shot dead by an overeager officer. Ignoring police commands, an unarmed Slim carries Queen's body toward the officers and is gunned down as well.
The people Queen and Slim encountered react to news reports of their deaths; the Florida man has collected the bounty, while the police have falsely claimed that both Queen and Slim were armed when they were shot, despite footage showing the opposite. Their real names are revealed to be Angela Johnson and Ernest Hines, and hundreds attend their funeral, viewing them as martyrs as Junior's photo of them becomes a symbol across the country.
- Daniel Kaluuya as Slim
- Jodie Turner-Smith as Queen
- Bokeem Woodbine as Uncle Earl
- Chloë Sevigny as Mrs. Shepherd
- Flea as Mr. Johnny Shepherd
- Sturgill Simpson as Police Officer Reed
- Indya Moore as Goddess
- Benito Martinez as Sheriff Edgar
- Jahi Di'Allo Winston as Junior
- Gralen Bryant Banks as Older Black Man
- Dickson Obahor as Large Black Man
- Bryant Tardy as Chubby
- Thom Gossom Jr. as Slim's Father
- Melanie Halfkenny as Naomi
- Bertrand E. Boyd II as Florida Man
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. In November 2018, Jodie Turner-Smith was cast to star opposite Kaluuya. In March 2019, Chloë Sevigny joined the cast of the film.
The score album for Queen & Slim was composed by English musician Devonté Hynes. 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.
Queen & Slim had its world premiere at the AFI Fest on November 14, 2019. It was theatrically released in the United States on November 27, 2019, by Universal Pictures. It was released in the United Kingdom in January 2020.
Queen & Slim grossed $43.8 million in the United States and Canada, and $3.9 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $47.7 million.
In the United States and Canada, the film was released alongside Knives Out, and was projected to gross $12–16 million from 1,625 theaters over its five-day opening weekend. 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. In its second weekend the film made $6.5 million (a drop of 45%), remaining in fourth.
Review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported an approval rating of 82% based on 217 reviews, with an average rating of 7.4/10. The site's critics consensus reads, "Stylish, provocative, and powerful, Queen & Slim tells a gripping fugitive story steeped in timely, thoughtful subtext." Metacritic, another review aggregator, assigned the film a weighted average score of 74 out of 100 based on 43 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews." 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.
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." Johnny Oleksinki of New York Post praised Daniel Kaluuya and Jodie Turner-Smith's lead performances. Adam White of The Independent labelled it "simultaneously beautiful and troubling" and praised Melina Matsoukas' directing.
|Award||Date of ceremony||Category||Recipients||Result||Ref.|
|African-American Film Critics Association||December 10, 2019||Impact Award||Melina Matsoukas, Lena Waithe and James Frey||Won|||
|Top 10 Best Films||Won|
|Alliance of Women Film Journalists Awards||January 10, 2020||Best Woman's Breakthrough Performance||Jodie Turner-Smith||Nominated|||
|ASCAP London Awards||October 21, 2020||Top Music Film Awards||Devonté Hynes||Won|||
|Austin Film Critics Association Awards||January 6, 2020||Best First Film||Melina Matsoukas||Nominated|||
|BET Awards||June 28, 2020||Best Movie||Queen & Slim||Won|||
|Black Film Critics Circle Awards||December 19, 2019||Best Picture||Melina Matsoukas, Lena Waithe and James Frey||Nominated|||
|Best Original Screenplay||Lena Waithe||Won|
|Black Reel Awards||February 6, 2020||Outstanding Film||Melina Matsoukas, Lena Waithe and James Frey||Nominated|||
|Outstanding Director||Melina Matsoukas||Nominated|
|Outstanding Emerging Director||Won|
|Outstanding Actress||Jodie Turner-Smith||Nominated|
|Outstanding Breakthrough Performance, Female||Nominated|
|Outstanding Actor||Daniel Kaluuya||Nominated|
|Outstanding Screenplay, Adapted or Original||Lena Waithe||Nominated|
|Outstanding First Screenplay||Won|
|Outstanding Original Score||Dev Hynes||Nominated|
|Outstanding Cinematography||Tad Radcliffe||Won|
|Outstanding Costume Design||Shiona Turini||Nominated|
|Outstanding Production Design||Karen Murphy||Nominated|
|Outstanding Original Song||"Collide" (by Tiana Major9 and EarthGang)||Won|
|"Guarding the Gates" (by Lauryn Hill)||Nominated|
|Costume Designers Guild Awards||January 28, 2020||Excellence in Contemporary Film||Shiona Turini||Nominated|||
|Directors Guild of America Awards||January 25, 2020||Outstanding Directing – First-Time Feature Film||Melina Matsoukas||Nominated|||
|Florida Film Critics Circle Awards||December 23, 2019||Best First Film||Melina Matsoukas||Won|||
|Guild of Music Supervisors Awards||February 6, 2020||Best Music Supervision for Films Budgeted Under $25 Million||Kier Lehman||Won|||
|Hawaii Film Critics Society Awards||January 14, 2020||Best First Film||Melina Matsoukas||Nominated|||
|Best New Filmmaker||Nominated|
|Hollywood Music in Media Awards||November 20, 2019||Outstanding Music Supervision - Film||Kier Lehman||Nominated|||
|Best Soundtrack Album||Queen & Slim Soundtrack||Nominated|
|Hollywood Critics Association Awards||January 9, 2020||Best First Feature||Melina Matsoukas||Nominated|||
|Motion Picture Sound Editors Awards||January 19, 2020||Outstanding Achievement in Sound Editing – Music Underscore||Joseph S. DeBeasi||Nominated|||
|NAACP Image Awards||February 22, 2020||Outstanding Motion Picture||Queen & Slim||Nominated|||
|Outstanding Ensemble Cast in a Motion Picture||Nominated|
|Outstanding Independent Motion Picture||Nominated|
|Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture||Daniel Kaluuya||Nominated|
|Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture||Jodie Turner-Smith||Nominated|
|Outstanding Breakthrough Role in a Motion Picture||Nominated|
|Outstanding Soundtrack/Compilation Album||Queen & Slim Soundtrack||Nominated|
|National Board of Review||December 3, 2019||Best Directorial Debut||Melina Matsoukas||Won|||
|Online Association of Female Film Critics||December 23, 2019||Breakthrough Filmmaker||Melina Matsoukas||Nominated|||
|Online Film Critics Society Awards||January 6, 2020||Best Debut Feature||Melina Matsoukas||Nominated|||
|St. Louis Film Critics Association Awards||December 15, 2019||Best Original Screenplay||Lena Waithe||Nominated|||
|Toronto Film Critics Association Awards||December 8, 2019||Best First Feature||Melina Matsoukas||Nominated|||
|Women Film Critics Circle Awards||December 9, 2019||Best Woman Storyteller||Lena Waithe||Nominated|||
|Best Equality of the Sexes||Queen & Slim||Nominated|
|Best Screen Couple||Daniel Kaluuya and Jodie Turner-Smith||Nominated|
|Josephine Baker Award||Queen & Slim||Runner-up|
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