Lovers Rock

Lovers Rock ★★★★

2020 Ranked

“Please somebody send me a drink, my throat is dry. Don’t ask me why!”

This film really made me miss house parties and drinking with friends so much. At only 70 minutes, this film is perhaps one of the breeziest of the year but it manages to pack plenty in. It’s a rather joyous celebration of the black community in London at the time. It’s hard not to be swept away into this one night alongside them.

Less narratively driven than I expected, Steve McQueen instead focuses on capturing the feeling of the time. This isn’t about deep characters, or high stakes drama. McQueen wants to capture that once in a lifetime feeling of a party like this. The strangers meeting, the friends celebrating, people forgetting what the outside world can be like, just for one night. It certainly manages to achieve that, we get smaller but nevertheless rather powerful moments of prejudice, and while not the focus of the film, it helps to capture that feeling of safety and joy that the party brings to people. 

The performances are all great, and once the film starts to focus more on Amarah-Jae St as Martha, we get a small but still well realised love story. Michael Ward as Franklyn is charming and laid back, easygoing and seemingly care free. The two of them don’t actually share that much dialogue together, but you can still feel the chemistry coming from them. 

The set up is brilliant, the music fits each scene perfectly, and there’s never a moment where the film feels slow or dragged out, all thanks to the direction. He’s certainly captured the essence and feeling of a night like this, and how can you not sit with a big smile on your face during the ‘Kung Fu Fighting’ scene.

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