Queen & Slim is a flower with thorns—petals that open to reveal more and more depth and healing leaves with poison roots. If that sounds a little like poetry then we’re off to the right start. On a first glance Q&S seems to follow Bonnie and Clyde (1967), but it has much more to do with later films. Stories that took the B&C paradigm and flipped it. Specifically, Thelma and Louise (1991) and, surprisingly, The Legend of Billie Jean (1985). Those films aren’t really about crime but instead focus on the way the power structure and the patriarchy conspire to paint good people as “criminals”—usually as retribution for the audacity of standing up for themselves.
Thelma and Louise focuses on poor women who rage against the misogyny of the patriarchy. While The Legend of Billie Jean rallies teenagers in similar circumstances. Queen & Slim has that kind of focus and voice but it sings about Black people, who battle corruption in the power structure and the patriarchy but also the racism and brutality intrinsic to both. Continue reading.