Combustible Celluloid
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With: Tracy Camilla Johns, Tommy Redmond Hicks, John Canada Terrell, Spike Lee, Raye Dowell, Joie Lee, Epata Merkinson, Bill Lee
Written by: Spike Lee
Directed by: Spike Lee
MPAA Rating: R
Running Time: 84
Date: 04/30/1986

She's Gotta Have It (1986)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Please, Baby

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Spike Lee's audacious feature debut managed to give voice not only to an African-American director, but also to a complex female character, one who was allowed to have desires and doubts. Nola Darling (Tracy Camilla Johns) juggles three potential boyfriends, the conceited Greer (John Canada Terrell), the sensitive Jamie (Tommy Redmond Hicks), and the goofy Mars Blackmon (Spike Lee). She likes all three, and all three want to possess her, but she refuses to compromise her happiness. Shot in black-and-white, the movie may seem dated or amateurish today, but it's still smart, funny, sexy, and entertaining, and makes good use of Brooklyn locations. And, as a moment in history, it cannot be undervalued. Lee continued to use the Mars Blackmon character ("Please, baby, please, baby, please, baby, please!") in ads over the following years. It contains a wonderfully awkward Thanksgiving scene for those looking for holiday movies.

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