Film: She’s Gotta Have It

Opened: August 8, 1986

Directed by: Spike Lee

Starring: Tracy Camilla Johns, Tommy Redmond Hicks, John Canada Terrell, Spike Lee, Raye Dowell, Joie Lee, Dennis Karika, S. Epatha Merkerson & Bill Lee

In his feature film directorial debut, Spike Lee was able to present black characters in a new light that was sexy, comedic and dramatic, and staked his claim in Hollywood forever.

Nola Darling (Tracy Camilla Johns) is sexually liberated and balances three men. There’s the well-mannered Jamie (Tommy Redmond Hicks), the narcissistic Greer (John Canada Terrell) and the simple-minded Mars (Spike Lee). All three are fighting for her affection.

The film is shot partly in a documentary style and all but one scene is in black-and-white. It’s a bold choice from Lee, but it’s part of what makes the film stand out.

Allowing Nola to be liberated in her lifestyle and showing three different types of suitors that are all upstanding options, this changed the way cinema looked at black characters and women.

Final say: She’s got it. ★★★★☆

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