Why 'Love Jones' Remains A Cult Classic, 20 Years Later
20 years a classic.
About six years ago, on the eve of Hurricane Sandy's impending rampage, my best friends and I opted to brave it together and enjoy a storm staycation. Pizza was ordered. Drinks were mixed. Our bodies were wrapped. As the rain tapped and the winds howled against her small on-campus apartment, our sistergirl and host brought out her trusty Love Jones DVD to occupy our attention once the television signal began to fade. Instantly, we cuddled up in her bed, swooning over the idiosyncratic romance between Darius Lovehall and Nina Mosley. As a twenty-something, I appreciated the complexities of the plot more than when I snuck the VHS into my room at a young-but-curious age nine. This movie was a gem, a cultural mainstay that has stood the tests of time and defied everything cinema's known about black love.
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On the 20th anniversary of the film, I'm in the same spot: cuddled up with takeout during a snowstorm, popping in my own DVD and quoting every line verbatim. Instead of enjoying it, I'm reflecting on the impact the film has had on the lives of many who seem themselves in the powerful players in this masterpiece. Here's 11 of the reasons we, as a community, can't help but love Love Jones.
1. The one-liners
C'mon now. "A Blues for Nina" was everything you never thought you needed. Darius' "urgent as a motherf*cker" line? Nina and Josie poetic commentary about the perfection of Darius' phallus? Yes, yes, yes. You'll be quoting this film for days.
2. Chicago, in all its beauty
Chicago has been getting a bad rap lately and quite frankly, it's unfair and biased. If you want a glimpse into the beauty that this Midwestern hub has to offer, I'd strongly recommend you get yourself a copy of "Love Jones". Every aspect of the city is captured so beautifully with the help of Ernest Holzman's amazing cinematography. Can you say "Chi City"?
3. The fashion
Peak 90s levels. We'll leave it at that.
4. The smoothness that is Darius Lovehall
Women loved him. Men wanted to be him. Yes, Darius Lovehall's suave nature was enough to make Billy Dee Williams want to retire. It didn't hurt that Larenz Tate has consistently been easy on the eyes. Seriously, will that man ever age?
5. Love under the creative's lens
This narrative of this film focused so heavily on creatives, Nina being a photographer, Darius being an artist, members of their respective crews sharing a similar interest in the art world. We got to see what love looks like to creatives and the raw emotion that comes with loving an artist. It's impulsive. It's intense. It's relatable.
6. The quintessential 90s soundtrack
90s black films had some of the best soundtracks and this film was no exception. How many times did you blast Dionne Farris' "Hopeless" while cooking or belted out Lauryn Hill's "The Sweetest Thing" in your car? Guilty. As. Charged.
7. What Nina's freedom did for black women
Nina Mosley was a pioneer to me. She evokes a sexual freedom that will forever receive respect from me. She let her carnal spirit lead her, bumping any antiquated view of what a woman is supposed to do, say or feel. She stood strong to her beliefs and responsibly let emotion direct her footsteps. Amen, sis.
8. A new side of blackness
At this time in black film, we were living in a time of O-Dawgs, Ninos, and Treys. Those rough stories. Love Jones challenged any stereotype of what blackness was. I think this movie opened up what love and life looked like with a new POV. Even the actors involved in the film have commented on how they loved the contrast the script possessed, making them love it even more.
9. The timeless appeal of the screenplay
Pop in Love Jones now and the message will still resonate royally. Just as the cast hasn't aged, neither has the sentiment of the script. While the players change, the game remains the same. That's the deal with this film her.
10. Darius and Nina aren't goals ... and that's OK
The complicated nature of their relationship was refreshing. Our stars weren't perfect. They were flawed beyond belief and struggled to emote their feelings effectively. In an age of situationships, who can't relate to that?
11. The unconventional ending
We're so used to seeing the protagonists run off into the sunset with each other at the end of a rom-com, fingers entwined and some deep R&B cut playing in the background as the credits roll. This wasn't that. There was no happily ever after. There was just life, as real as it could be. That was the icing on the cake.
What made you fall in love with Love Jones? Share with us below!