She’s Gotta Have It

A SERIOUSLY SEXY COMEDY.

Brooklyn girl Nola Darling (Tracy Camilla Johns) is juggling three men in her life – the ambitious Jamie Overstreet (Tommy Redmond Hicks), a model (John Canada Terrell) and the childish but charming Mars (Spike Lee). Lee’s feature debut also became his breakthrough, an indie movie in black-and-white (with the exception of a sweet dance sequence that takes place during a date). Lee, who’s fun to watch as Mars, emphasizes how different the men are in Nola’s life; they all have negative sides, but he also makes us understand what it is about them that she likes. The film was groundbreaking in its portrait of a proudly sexually liberated African-American woman; uneven, but funny and candid. Beautifully shot, with a melancholy jazz score by the director’s father.

1986-U.S. 84 min. Color-B/W. Produced, written, directed and edited by Spike Lee. Cinematography: Ernest R. Dickerson. Music: Bill Lee. Cast: Tracy Camilla Johns (Nola Darling), Tommy Redmond Hicks (Jamie Overstreet), John Canada Terrell (Greer Childs), Spike Lee (Mars Blackmon), Raye Dowell, Bill Lee.

Trivia: Later a TV series, She’s Gotta Have It (2017- ).

Last word: “I heard a lot of my male friends bragging about how many women they have in their stables. But if word gets back to them that one of those women is not even seeing another man, but just thinking about it, they go through the roof. That paradox is funny, it’s really crazy. So I decided it would be a good idea to do a film about a young black woman who’s really leading her life like a man, in control, with three men dangling at her fingertips.” (Lee, The New York Times)

 

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