Saturday, September 1, 2012

741. She's Gotta Have It (1986)


Running Time: 84 minutes
Directed By: Spike Lee
Written By: Spike Lee
Main Cast: Tracy Camilla Johns, Tommy Redmond Hicks, John Canada Terrell, Spike Lee, Raye Dowell
Click here to view the trailer

A DOUBLE SHOT OF LEE: 1 of 2

After a couple of days on hiatus, I return to present to you a pair of films from Spike Lee, the acclaimed African-American filmmaker who burst onto the scene in 1986, with his debut picture - "She's Gotta Have It" - a decent debut, in my opinion.


The main character of the picture is Nola Darling (Johns), a woman who has a very hard time devoting her life to one man. She's a New Yorker, which sets up Lee to film Brooklyn in all it's glory and provide us with a jazzy score that accompanies the characters perfectly. Nola begins the film by speaking directly to us, prepared to tell us the story of her three suitors. First you have Jamie Overstreet (Hicks), a romantic who sweeps Nola off of her feet when he uses a pickup line she's never heard before, an original that wins her over. He gives a good massage, knocks her socks off by planning an extravagant birthday celebration and is everything a woman would want in a man. Next you have Mars Blackmon (Lee), who doesn't bring much to the table, however, he does make Nola laugh and that's important to her. He has a hard time keeping his mouth from running and he's very childlike, constantly seeking Nola's attention and approval. Then you have Greer Childs (Terrell), a narcissist, who cares more about the wrinkles in his clothes than making love to Nola. He claims to care for her a great deal, but you get the feeling that he simply wants her as arm candy. The film tells of Nola's relationships and interactions with these three men, as she deals with the pressures of juggling three boyfriends and as they deal with the fact that they're sharing the woman of all their dreams.


Had I seen this film in 1986, I would've been excited for this new filmmaker bursting onto the scene and commended him for a very acceptable first feature. Of course, at that time, I wouldn't have known that Lee would go on to direct more prominent and important features like "Do the Right Thing" and "25th Hour". I wasn't blown away by "She's Gotta Have It" or anything, but it was a perfectly fine debut film and one that Lee should be proud of to this day. In fact, I'm surprised I didn't like it more seeing as how Lee used techniques similar to those of Woody Allen, setting his film in New York, making the city into a character and basing his story on the trials and tribulations of the dating world. There was just something about it that left me wanting more and that left a flat taste in my mouth. I liked that the film was done in black & white, as that only added to it's appeal and if I had to pick a least favorite part it would definitely be the small, color portion in the middle of the film. I really don't know what else to say here. The film was fine, but nothing worth writing home about and left me with a perfectly enjoyable Friday night movie choice, nothing blow away and nothing terrible.


RATING: 6.5/10  It does have the potential to grow on me though, so we'll keep the door open for a change in opinion, but for now, calling it a perfectly acceptable first feature for Lee is sufficient enough.

MOVIES WATCHED: 516
MOVIES LEFT TO WATCH:  485

September 1, 2012  1:03am

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