Queen and Slim: The Love Story I Never Knew I Needed
I had no doubt I would enjoy Queen and Slim; I simply didn’t anticipate how much. To be very clear this isn’t just a “black film” nor is it a depiction of Bonnie and Clyde. It is much more than that.
The plot of Queen and Slim isn’t a complicated one: A police officer is killed, and the culprits do flee. However, there is a lot more depth to the characters and their story than is immediately perceived. The opening scene is of Queen and Slim eating in an Ohio diner. To my relief, they were no cringey gimmicks like feeding each or playing footsie underneath the dinner table. Instead, the opening scene almost felt slow. Queen and Slim are blatantly awkward as they uncover their differences on an impromptu first date. Too polite to get up and leave, yet not enough to pretend they are completely satisfied with each other’s company (we have all been there!); The two protagonists sit through what certainly looked like their first and last date. I am always the first to encourage people to trust their gut feelings, however, as this film pans out you are reminded there are many layers to people. Someone originally perceived as being aloof, may be that way for a reason. I certainly felt this was the case with Queen, and it is confirmed later in the film. Finally, what I enjoyed the most about Queen and Slim's relationship was the rate in which their romance evolved. It grew out of respect for one another despite their differences, and for me, that was the realist part. I may be the only one here, but I never like to feel aggressively pursued and stereotypical romantic gestures like proclaiming your love in front of family and friends make me feel awkward. Hence, I hate seeing it on TV and in films. Queen and Slim in my opinion as lovers were the realest I’ve seen in a while, and as individuals they did not conform to outdated stereotypes of each gender. Not to mention, who doesn't love to see an unproblematic black coupe fall in love. Said representations are far and few between.
Another element I loved was the solidarity shown towards the couple, within and outside of the black community. The concept of a young black couple fleeing a scene having come very close to becoming victims of police brutality is ironic and disturbing. I believe they were two innocent people who ended up in a bad place. I also believe a little more empathy in the world would go a long way. Had the officer that pulled them over been more empathetic would things have escalated as quickly as they did? Probably not. “There but for the grace of God go I” springs to mind. The riot scene undoubtedly struck a chord for me, but the allyship shown in this film was equally appreciated too. Allyship, in my opinion, isn’t practised enough. Whilst the trauma and feelings of others may not be shared, they are still valid. I think if we placed as much energy on understanding one another as we do judging each other, we’d flourish.
Queen and Slim may not be everyone’s go to film, but you certainly can learn a great from it.
"Why do black people always feel the need to be excellent? Why can’t we just be ourselves?" - Slim
"I want a guy to show me myself. I want him to love me so deeply, I'm not afraid to show him how ugly I can be. I want him to show me scars I never knew I had. But I don't want him to make them go away"- Queen
Sources/Websites worth visiting: