Friday, 16 July 2010

Retro Review: Love Jones

When Larenz Tate stood up at the BET Awards and started reciting those words to Nia Long, he had everyone oohing and aahing - including myself. Love Jones dropped in 1997 when the poetry scene was buzzing and when the spoken word was the new green, red, gold and Black. Over here in London there were numerous poetry events popping up all over the city. The movie is a simple tale of boy meets girl. Boy gets girl. Boy loses girl and then gets her back. However it is the way the story is told that makes it so damm good. Also it was released when a lot of gangster films were released such as Menance II Society and Dead Presidents  where ironically Larenz first got his claim to fame, so Love Jones was extremely refreshing to the eyes. Nina Mosley played by Nia Long is a photographer nursing a broken heart so she flees New York and heads to Chicago to start a new life. She bumps into Darius Lovehall played by Larenz Tate, an aspiring writer at a Poetry Jam and sparks fly. They start to date and fall for each other but both party are unnerved by the intensity of the relationship. Nina because she is still not quite over her ex and Darius because he not sure if he is ready to settle down.

Love Jones was a pioneer because prior to that you never saw a Black couple in a romantic relationship on the big screen (you can read a previous blog post that I wrote about Black relationships here). The film paved the way for other African American romances like Brown Sugar. Love and Basketball and Disappearing Acts From the research that I have done it is apparent that Love Jones is regarded as a classic in Black films and has been described as a shinning example of how a love story should be; realistic with real characters in real situations. More importantly it was at the time and to a certain extent still is a film that shows Black people as they really are: intelligent, cultural, creative and just as keen to find the one as anyone else. It is hard to believe that it was made 13 years ago because it just seems so current. Nia and Larenz have so much chemistry and I couldn't believe it when I heard that she is five years older than him. It took me a while to appreciate the contribution that Love Jones has made to Black cinema - it helped to popularise poetry and gave everyone an insight into the cultural scene of Chicago.

3 cool comments:

VexintheCity said...

Interesting post, I enjoyed reading this.

MsQuiche said...

Good review, you've made me see Love Jones in a different light as I wasn't a huge fan the first time round. The Nia and Larenz interlude at BET was brilliant though.

PurpleRamblings said...

I loved this film and think i'm gonna dig out my copy and watch it over the weekend. Thanks for reminding me, might try and squeeze Love and Basketball in too :-)