There is a nasty rumor going around that Tyler Perry wants to remake Love Jones. The mere thought of this chills me to my bones. It’s not just because it’s Tyler Perry, who we dedicated a post to; it’s because it’s Love Jones. For those people who really know me, you know that this movie has an immovable mansion in the depths of my soul. Darius Lovehall is the reason I embraced my love to write. Nina Mosley made me appreciate photography. Maxwell put me on to classic midnight ballads. The lighting in the movie showed me what artsy black movies look like. “The Sanctuary” has had me looking for a suitable substitute for years. “A Blues for Nina” has been my constant motivation to write my definitive work. It is with that that I got with my fellow Threader, primemeridian, to give you our third installment (here are one and two) of the “He Said/She Said” series.
Why We Love Love Jones:
1. The Storyline
She Said: Let me start by saying that this movie was one of the three that greatly fueled my desire to create movies. I have adopted the brilliant quote “The true goal of an artist is to create the definitive work that cannot be surpassed” as my personal life mantra. Other quotes that I liked:
“For Nina, the woman who helped me reach my level”
“Oh so you just think you have all the answers, huh?” “Mmm uh, just all the questions”
“Can I play you a song?” (this one was just nice because of how smooth it was)
“I love you and that’s urgent like a motherf*cker”
That being said, this storyline was incredibly well done. It engaged us from the very beginning when Nina is packing that truck after seeing a beautiful montage of her relationship. Then, we move through a quick series of highs and lows with a lot of surprises along the way. One thing that I think the writers did particularly well, is allow the other characters to shine through as well. I was just as invested in Savon’s divorce as I was in Nina and Darius’ romantic development. I felt for Josie as she had to live vicariously through Nina and really wanted Hollywood to get what he had coming to him. There are very few scripts that are able to establish such a dynamic interplay of the characters individual stories that an onlooker feels connected to all of them.
He Said: This movie reminded me of what black love looks like. It has its lows, it has its points of sadness, but when it works, it’s a beautiful thing. I thoroughly appreciated that no character was perfect. Nina struggled with her ex, while trying to maneuver down her career path; Darius struggled with his pride; Hollywood was trying to sow his oats; and Savon was trying to save his marriage. Like primemeridian said, we got to know each character while we were taken on the adventure of Darius and Nina’s love.
2. The Artistry
He Said: There is so much art in this movie, but I’ll focus on the poetry aspect here because it is very special to me. Like I said earlier, Darius Lovehall is the reason why I started seriously writing poetry. I was young when I saw this movie for the first time, but it stuck with me. I still read and recite the words to “Brother to the Night (A Blues for Nina)” and sit back in amazement. It’s such a heavy poem, but so soulfully done. I didn’t like the poem Nina shared towards the end of the movie, but I’ve learned to love it as well. “Poetry is the possibility of language.”
She Said: Of course Mr. Lovehall’s poem stands out and I’m sure plenty of black men tried to be the “brother to the night” after seeing this movie. Darius made poetry sexy, but it was Nina who really impacted me. Her poem was just free form, but it had so much meaning. I’m a simple kind of writer, so her poem made me feel more comfortable in my skin. I also LOVED the photography. I hadn’t really viewed photography as an art until this movie and it really encouraged me to pick up the camera. I became interested in Gordan Parks and photography in general. I remember going around trying to take mysterious pictures after watching this. I loved that Nina developed her pics in a dark room the old fashioned way and she took her craft very seriously. There was way more art in this film, such as the choice of decor on the set, but those are the things that stuck out for me.
3. The Cinematography
She Said: The cinematography was definitely deliberate in this movie. I appreciated the undertones of every scene and how the darkness stayed consistent throughout. Even in daylight, there was a hint of gray. A lot of people take the cinematography of a film for granted, but it is so noticeable when done wrong. This movie just got it right. I loved how there always seemed to be a little mist in the air and how the sunlight seemed muted. Even when Nina and Darius finally got their ish together, they found happiness in the rain. I loved that! The sun didn’t come out all cheesy, but they just worked it out through the rain outside the dark club where they met. It was so full circle!
He Said: Whether it was Nina’s dark lipstick, the smoky ambiance in “The Sanctuary”, the foggy Chicago environment, the reggae club, or the shadowy love scene, Love Jones is a dark and mysterious-looking movie. I’m no film major like primemeridian, but the mystique intrigues me every time I lay eyes on this movie. It’s almost as if the overall atmosphere paints a picture of love. It’s foggy. It’s not easy to see through. It’s not always seeing your hand when you stretch it out, but the beauty of knowing there’s another hand out there reaching for yours. Damn, that’s deep. I get all of that from this movie.
I have to mention two sensual scenes that stand out to me. The first one being the love scene, which was so thoughtfully done with class and sensuality. I also loved the final scene with Darius and Nina kissing in the rain. I think that is so sexy.
4. The Soundtrack
He Said: The soundtrack to this movie just might be THE best I have ever had the pleasure of absorbing (excluding biopics/music-based movies). The “Brother to the Night” poem, “Hopeless”. “Sweetest Thing”. “I’ve Got a Love Jones for You”. That’s 4 heavy-hitters, and they’re the first four tracks! You’ve got Lauryn Hill, Xscape, Maxwell, Kenny Lattimore, and Duke Ellington in the same place, and they sound so wonderful together. I can just push play and vibe for an hour. It’s beautifully soulful, jazzy, sexy, sentimental, and poetic.
She Said: Basically, what he said! When I was younger, I couldn’t even appreciate all of the music. As I watch the film now, I am in love with the soulful jazz of it all. From the first record played in the music store to the ending credits, the music just makes you wanna smoke a Virginia slim, grab a long island iced tea and sit on the porch listening to some old school vinyl.
5. The Intellectual Value
She Said: I must say that this was probably the first time I really saw academic black characters portrayed on the silver screen without seeming like they had somehow been divorced from black culture. The characters celebrated the uniqueness of black culture, embraced afrocentricness (without overdoing it. Well, except when Sheila hit that dance in the middle of the convo about God) and engaged in intellectual debate. The intellectual component was not forced or concocted. I could picture my college friends and I sitting around and hypothesizing about why God was a woman or arguing about the meaning of love. It was so subtle and so effective.
He Said: I loved that this movie spotlighted black intellectuals. So few movies portray black people in that light. I enjoyed getting to know each character and joining them on their journeys through life. I really can’t think of another black movie that had poetry, music, and photography all fueling the film. As for the love story, Nina loved photography and Darius was a “Renaissance man” who was perfecting his poetic craft. The arts seemed to connect these two and love tied them together. I think the writers and director also did a wonderful job of providing us with a glimpse into black culture and the city of Chicago. All together, Love Jones married so many intellectual elements together to create a masterpiece.
Thank God this Tyler Perry/Love Jones thing is just that; a rumor. As always, let us know how you feel. Agree? Disagree? Love it? Hate it? Comment!
-23 and primemeridian11