How Stella Got Her Groove Back

1998

Comedy / Drama

4
IMDb Rating 5.5

Synopsis


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2.37G
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124 min
P/S 91 / 156
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124 min
P/S 84 / 457

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Michael Pilkington ([email protected])

Angela Bassett ("Waiting to Exhale") is talented and buff as Stella, asingle mother/career woman who's in need of a vacation. Stella decides tohead for Jamaica with her best friend, Delilah (Whoopi Goldberg in a finesupporting role). Stella meets 20-year-old Winston (Taye Diggs). They fallin love, in-spite of Stella's emotional insecurities. Terry McMillanadapted from her novel based on her real-life experience. I hate to saythis, but unlike "Waiting to Exhale," this overlong movie barely holds up tothe book, because of too many plot holes and too many unnecessarycharacters. On the contrary, Diggs turns in an impressive performance aswell. My evaluation: ** out of ****.

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Reviewed by fitissen 7/10

Angela Bassett does an outstanding job. To those of you who can'tunderstand why Stella needs her groove back, you have only to look upthe word mundane. No matter how much money you have or Chanel suits youown that doesn't mean you have true companionship. We all want a realconnection someone to hold us, love us and tell us it will get better.And that transcends age and socio economics. Sometimes people are righton time. No one can go through the world completely alone. We neverknow what or how long any relationship will last so I suppose the mostimportant thing is to seize the day. Make your own reality and Stelladoes that with dignity and with pride and admittedly with hesitationand fear. That's the sign of a very real character! Someone who isvulnerable. Someone you can understand even if you're not in the samesituation.

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Reviewed by J. L. Halpenny ([email protected]) 10/10

<br><br>Stella pushed the envelope-- and in that, if only that, it has merit. Byshowing that an all black cast can attract a wider audience (andinterestingly, it's usually white folks who don't like the movie.. onebegins to wonder why?) and a black actress, Angela Bassett, prodigiouslytalented, brilliant, and as a bonus, beautiful, can convincingly portray awoman who is torn between what she has always been taught is right, andwhather heart is telling her is right.. is a timeless story.<br><br>Add to that the crackling comic relief of Whoopi Goldberg, and two veryfunny sisters representing opposing views and lifestyles, and you have anice mix. More envelope pushing? One of the sisters is married to awhiteguy -- nothing is made of it, it just is. The point made, of course, isthat interracial marriage isn't something odd or different or in need ofexplanation or commentary. One of the better ways to attackinstitutionalized racism, racism that is bred into us as we grow up, is toshow images that combat those assumptions and to make those images asnonchalant and matter of fact as possible. This was done very well inStella.<br><br>Of course, if one doesn't like romantic comedy, or if one nursesprejudice,consciously or subconsciously, the movie won't be appealing.<br><br>I, however, found it charming, funny, enjoyable, and delightful. I lovedAngela Bassett's performance, I am in awe of her talent and her beauty(yes,a woman can appreciate another woman's beauty.. we need not attack eachother, we can be sisters, can we not?) and I loved Whoopi Goldberg's comicrelief. Taye Diggs? Well, we shall see. He's certainly easy on the eye,and he did a credible job with his role. I'd like to see him in morebeforeI decide if he's good, great, or somewhere in between. Based solely onStella, I think he's good, and very promising.<br><br>The movie did not track the book as much as I would have liked -- I don'twant to say in what ways because I don't want to ruin it for those of youwho are going to go and read the book.<br><br>Do read the book if you haven't -- it's excellent, wonderful reading. Myfavorite, in fact, of Terry McMillan's work.<br><br>Another point; Stella is depicted a stock broker. Some found that to lackcredibility. Why? Are those folks trying to suggest that there are nowomen or black women stock brokers? I can tell you that there are, andintroduce you to a few if you'd like -- I know several of them. Andmoney?Yes, there actually are well to do, single, black, mothers who areprofessionals in a number of fields including law, medicine, academia,business, government -- everywhere. Not enough, but they're there, andthey're forging the way for more to come.<br><br>Someone else said that it wasn't credible that the Winston character wouldfall so quickly in love with the Stella character. Why not? Stella wasportrayed as beautiful, intriguing, very intelligent, she looked no olderthan 25 -- why would a 20 year old not want to be with a woman like that?Why would any man not want to be with someone like that? Of course it wascredible.<br><br>The movie was humorous (remember Ms. Thang &quot;How nice that you're visitingwith your mother.&quot; rofl, that was hysterical.. &quot;oh yes, I've missed mymother very much&quot;.. (pause)(wicked grins followed by a long kiss that hadnothing maternal about it) .. as Ms. Thang flounces away, having receivedher comeuppence very nicely. I guffawed and loved it.<br><br>I'm truly mystified by those who didn't like the movie. I admit to itsflaws, and the fact that it didn't track the book in some ways.. but ithadso very much going for it.. everything from the envelope pushing ofinterracial marriage, and the age difference.. where usually it is the manwho is older and professional, and the woman who is younger, and no onefinds that odd or different. How many men are married to women 20, 30,years their junior? Society says nothing about that.. A 20 yeardifference? How often do you see a 45 year old man with a 25 year oldwoman? Every day, everywhere. It's something that goes withoutcomment.<br><br>Here we have it reversed, and we see how hard it is for the femalecharacterto break the bonds of that double standard. But she does. Isn't that arole model, a positive break from the typical older male/younger femalescene that we usually see and take in stride as completely acceptable andquite normal. Reverse it and everyone gasps.. &quot;Isn't she old enough to behis MOTHER?!?!&quot; While the men who are old enough to be their wives'fathers (and grandfathers) pass without a blink of the eye, without acomment.<br><br>But the social commentary, the envelope pushing -- it was there and it wasgood, but the movie's humor, the love story, the laughter.. that's whatmadethe movie great fun. It could have just won points on social commentary,but it didn't.. it won them on purely cinematic/acting grounds. The factthat it also contained social commentary was simply a huge bonus.. and weknow that psychologically, folks are more likely to absorb socialcommentarywhen it is presented in a way that isn't a polemic, a lecture, aheavy-handed &quot;after school special.&quot;<br><br>My vote.. On the book- 9/10On the movie 8/9 or better.<br><br>Comments on this overly long review? &gt; I don't usually come back to see how my comments arereceived. Flame mail? Please don't, because it's a negative waste oftime.. but real discussion I always welcome, whether the other personagreesor disagrees, as long as the issue is discussed, and personal attacks arenot made.<br><br>Someone suggested watching White Palace, and said that it is the samestory,but grittier, with Susan Sarandon (a great actress) and James Spader. Ithink I'll rent that next ;)<br><br>

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