“Queen & Slim” (Universal)

Bokeem Woodbine and Indya Moore star in a scene from the movie "Queen & Slim." The Catholic News Service classification is O -- morally offensive. (CNS/Universal Pictures)

By Catholic News Service

Volatile drama examining the alienation between the police and the African American community.

Driving home from a first date, a couple of new acquaintances (Daniel Kaluuya and Jodie Turner-Smith) are stopped and harassed by a white officer (Sturgill Simpson). As the situation escalates, the cop wounds the young woman and is, in turn, shot dead by the young man. In a panic, the duo flees from Ohio to New Orleans where they take temporary refuge with her estranged uncle (Bokeem Woodbine). He helps them plan an escape to Cuba via Florida and the further stages of their journey find them being aided by a white couple (Chloe Sevigny and Flea) and forming a brief friendship with a youngster (Jahi Di’Allo Winston) who regards them as heroes.

As scripted by Lena Waithe, director Melina Matsoukas’ film doesn’t consistently show the restraint and balance its mortally serious subject matter requires. And, while it includes a welcome emphasis on faith and a sober portrayal of the mayhem inherent in the story, the seamy atmosphere that surrounds Woodbine’s character is followed up by a needlessly prolonged and explicit sex scene.

Some gory violence, strong sexual content, including graphic premarital sexual activity with upper female and rear nudity, drug use, a prostitution theme, a couple of profanities, a few milder oaths, pervasive rough and crude language. The Catholic News Service classification is O — morally offensive. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R — restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.

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