Love Jones (1997)
1h 50m / R / Romance, Drama
Darius (Larenz Tate), an aspiring writer, and Nina (Nia Long), an aspiring photographer, share an instant connection after a chance meeting at a Chicago club. The two bond over music, photography and poetry, and eventually begin a torrid romance. However, when Nina decides to move to New York and mend her relationship with her ex-fiancé, Marvin (Khalil Kain), it leaves Darius heartbroken, and the couple’s future in jeopardy.
Much more complicated than the beat-for-beat romance audiences expected, Love Jones never saw the appreciation that it deserved. It underperformed on release, and the lion’s share of that fault lies with a distributor that didn’t really know how to market it. It remains writer/director Theodore Witcher’s only feature film. As he said in a New York Times interview in 2019, white directors (especially back then) could have less financially successful movies but still get second and third chances, but “if you’re black, you really can only fail once.” But in home release and now, audiences have come to appreciate its raw and realistic look at the relationship dynamics between fully-drawn characters. Love Jones is a classic, and it’s time it was canonized as such.
Presented as part of the Black Love Classics Series in partnership with the Tampa Bay Black Heritage Festival and 7th & Grove. Following the screening, attendees who show their ticket stub at Ybor’s 7th & Grove southern restaurant will receive 20% off dinner for two (offer valid through the month of February.) A portion of the proceeds from ticket sales will benefit TBBHF.
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The Black Love Classics Series is presented by TECO.