STAY AT HOME AND STREAM: SELAH AND THE SPADES Friday 27 March, 2020

Remember teen flicks? I grew up in the 90s and 00s where there was a plethora of teen comedies and drama movies. I do not seem them as much anymore, but this new Amazon Original Selah and The Spades revived the genre! Check out the trailer and synopsis below.

Written and Directed by Tayarisha Poe
Produced by Lauren McBride, Drew Houpt and Lucas Joaquin
Starring Lovie Simone, Celeste O’Connor, Jharrel Jerome with Jesse Williams and Gina Torres

TRAILER

In the closed world of an elite Pennsylvania boarding school, Haldwell, the student body is run by five factions. Seventeen-year-old Selah Summers (Lovie Simone) runs the most dominant group, the Spades, with unshakable poise, as they cater to the most classic of vices and supply students with coveted, illegal alcohol and pills. Tensions between the factions escalate, and when Selah’s best friend/right hand Maxxie (MOONLIGHT’s Jharrel Jerome) becomes distracted by a new love, Selah takes on a protégée, enamored sophomore Paloma (Celeste O’Connor), to whom she imparts her wisdom on ruling the school. But with graduation looming and Paloma proving an impressively quick study, Selah’s fears turn sinister as she grapples with losing the control by which she defines herself.

My Review

Lovie Simone stars in SELAH AND THE SPADES
Photo: Courtesy of Amazon Studios

This is the first time I have seen a black teen movie of its kind starring a beautiful melanated protagonist Selah (Lovie Simone). Selah is actually both the protagonist and antagonist in the movie. When I was growing up in the 90s and 00s, we really didn’t have black teen flicks. Bring it on was the closest, and possibly ATL…but none of them starred a black girl. So if I could give a reference to this film, it would be a modern mix of teen flick classics inspired by Cruel Intentions, Mean Girls and Bring it On. Maybe even a sprinkle of Clueless. What makes this film unique immediately? But this film is special. When was the last time you seen any film of black teens going to private school? That layout alone of the private school theme with black teens was intriguing in itself.

Selah is a young, seventeen year old teen who runs one of the largest crews on the private school campus which are “The Spades“. Think “The Plastics” like Mean Girls mixed in with Cruel Intentions. Rival Crew are “The Bobbys” ran by a girl named Bobby. You can look at Selah as the Queen of Spades and she holds all of the deck of cards that run that campus. Now Selah looks like the typical teen ice queen with all of the stereotypical logictics such as affluent, head of cheer-leading team, and of course an intimidating demeanor. What would a teen flick be without that. Except this is Selah last year, and she needs someone to run The Spades when she graduates and keep the legacy going. So Selah meet Paloma, a sophomore and aspiring photographer who seems the complete opposite of herself.

What Selah likes in Paloma, possibly reminds her of the real her. Selah has the typical demeanor of a teen Queen, but deep down…she is deeper than the surface. But Selah still has a dark side. The dark side is mixed in with another private school stereotype of drug dealings, which The Spades run that operation very well. Too well. I wont give much more, but this movie blew me away.

The entire film it was a mix of watching teens but a lot of maturity in the mixture as well. The way they move and spoke, like professional adults – but I assume that was very intentional as they are being prepped in a high class private school to get accepted into future Ivy League colleges. Selah has to put on this hard exterior, because honestly its expected of her. In society, people in Selah’s position think in order to be on top you have to be callous-hearted, malicious, vindictive and spiteful to keep that reign going. The only balance she has in the film comes through from Paloma, an unlikely friendship that may or may not be the saving grace to Selah! Following the story of Selah, you see the good and bad within her character and she will have to learn how to pick her cards wisely before she enters adulthood and transitions out her senior year. The cards are in Selah’s hands.

Lovie Simone appears in Selah and the Spades by Tayaresha Poe, an official selection of the NEXT program at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Jomo Fray
All photos are copyrighted and may be used by press only for the purpose of news or editorial coverage of Sundance Institute programs. Photos must be accompanied by a credit to the photographer and/or ‘Courtesy of Sundance Institute.’ Unauthorized use, alteration, reproduction or sale of logos and/or photos is strictly prohibited.

In her feature debut, writer/director Tayarisha Poe immerses us in a heightened depiction of teenage politics. This searing character study encapsulates just how intoxicating power can be for a teenage girl who acutely feels the threat of being denied it. Exciting newcomer Lovie Simone’s performance beautifully embodies both Selah’s publicly impeccable command and the internal fears and uncertainty that drive it.

Amazon Studios will release SELAH AND THE SPADES on Prime Video April 17th, 2020

About the Blogger - Kiwi the Beauty


Kiwi is the free spirited blogger and content creator of KiwiTheBeauty.com. As a digital influencer, she produces creative inspiration around beauty, lifestyle, media and travel leisure. Her life mantra is to make manifesting fun! When she’s not blogging, she is eating trendy hipster food, carrying crystals, making it rain at her local farmer's market and binge brunching. Follow her on her blog and social media at kiwithebeauty.com + @kiwithebeauty

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