Queen & Slim
|Queen & Slim|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Melina Matsoukas|
|Screenplay by||Lena Waithe|
|Music by||Devonté Hynes|
|Edited by||Pete Beaudreau|
|Distributed by||Universal Pictures|
|Box office||$29.6 million|
Queen & Slim is a 2019 American romantic 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 must go on the run after killing a police officer in self-defense 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, with praise for the performances, chemistry between Kaluuya and Turner-Smith, direction, emotional weight, and messages, though some criticized the script. It has grossed $29 million worldwide.
A criminal defense attorney, Queen, has dinner with her date, Slim, in an Ohio diner. Slim drives Queen home afterwards; his presumably erratic driving attracts the attention of a police officer, who pulls the two over and makes Slim step out of the car. The agitated 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 in self-defense. 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 garage where the mechanic's son, Junior, expresses his admiration for them.
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 an officer and impulsively shoots him, 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.
- Daniel Kaluuya as Ernest "Slim" Hines
- Jodie Turner-Smith as Angela "Queen" Johnson
- Bokeem Woodbine as Uncle Earl
- Chloë Sevigny as Mrs. Shepherd
- Flea as Mr. Shepherd
- Sturgill Simpson as Officer Reed
- Indya Moore as Goddess
- Jahi Di'Allo Winston as Junior
- Melanie Halfkenny as Naomi
- Benito Martinez as Sheriff
On July 19, 2018, it was announced that the production company Makeready 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 costar opposite Kaluuya. In March 2019, Chloë Sevigny joined the cast of the film.
Queen & Slim had its world premiere at AFI Fest on November 14, 2019. It was 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.
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. It made $1.7 million on its first day and $2.4 million on Thanksgiving Day. It went on to gross $11.9 million in 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.
The review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reported an approval rating of 83% based on 119 reviews, with an average rating of 7.52/10. 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 34 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.
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