Written and Directed by Kasi Lemmons
Starring Samuel L. Jackson, Lynn Whitfield, Jurnee Smollett, Meagan Good, Debbi Morgan
My Advice: Don't Miss It.
Amazingly enough, this is a first outing as a writer and director by actress Kasi Lemmons, and damn, what an excellent start. The film opens with an older Eve (Smollett) telling us what age she was when she killed her father, instantly catching our attention--and this film holds it well. Welcome to Louisiana and the town of Eve's Bayou, where we meet the Batiste family, which is rallying around and simultaneously being slowly destroyed by the father, Louis (Jackson), and his *ahem* somewhat uncommon and extramarital medical practices. Everyone knows, including his put-upon wife (Whitfield), his psychic sister (Morgan), and two daughters (Good and Smollett)--but no one wants to talk about it. Needcoffee.com fave Jackson gets major points not only for his performance but also for helping produce the film, which in this day and age unfortunately might not have gotten made without his name value. Debbi Morgan gives a great performance as a psychic counselor who very often sees things she doesn't wish to. Whitfield is solid as well, but what amazed me most of all was the performances of the two girls, Meagan Good and Jurnee Smollett. They are truly the center of this film and the catalyst for what takes place, and they rise to the occasion beautifully. I hope to see them in other films as time goes on. All of this goodness shows the prowess of Lemmons as a director. Not only was she able to get great actors and actresses on the screen and bring her work regarding the destructive nature of sexuality out of control to life, but the presentation was original and compelling. Flashback sequences take place in mirrors; Debbi Morgan's psychic visions are black-and-white, sudden and clouded. All in all, an immensely powerful film that deserves multiple viewings. And for Kasi Lemmons, this plea: let us see your work again. The cinema needs talents like yours.
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