Zola – Film Review
by Katie McCann
Director – Janicza Bravo
Writers – Janicza Bravo, Jeremy O. Harris, A’Ziah King(based on the tweets by)
Stars – Taylour Paige, Riley Keough, Nicholas Braun
“Y’all wanna hear a story about why me & this b-tch here fell out?! It’s kinda long but full of suspense,” are the iconic opening lines of a viral tweet by A’Ziah “Zola” King that captivated the world back in 2015. And she wasn’t lying. The story is full of suspense, plus twists and turns and a good few “Oh my god, really?” moments. These tweets have now been transformed into the movie ZOLA directed by Janicza Bravo and starring Taylour Paige as Zola and Riley Keough as the b-tch she fell out with.
There is very little to be said about ZOLA without ruining some of the wonderful twists and turns so I shall endeavour not to ruin anything here. All you need to know is that Zola is a waitress, sometimes pole dancer, who meets Stefani (that bitch) one day while bussing tables. They quickly become friends over the course of one night and Stefani then invites Zola to come dance with her in Florida for the weekend. Zola agrees and the rest is viral history. But don’t ruin the surprises for yourself by reading the tweets (if you’ve already managed to go this long without seeing them) because Bravo’s flair for storytelling and truly distinctive visual style makes this story all the sweeter.
ZOLA is a thrilling watch from start to finish. The performances are wonderful from an all-round stellar cast and will keep you enthralled until the bitter end. There are moments that will make you laugh out loud then want to crawl out of your skin. That is
what Bravo does masterfully. She takes what could have been a bit of a joke and gives it all the weight and attention it deserves. What is most refreshing about this film is its depiction of female sexuality. Zola is a strong-willed independently-minded black
woman who very quickly sets her boundaries around what she is and isn’t ok with. She owns her sexuality while dancing magnificently on a pole and off of it. She is sexy, like really sexy. Her dancing is super sexy but what happens to and around her is absolutely not and Bravo doesn’t shy away from showing us the truly dark side of this tale.
ZOLA is a thrill ride of a film. It is fresh and bold in all the right places plus you really feel for the main character that this situation simply got away from her. Honestly, I don’t know if anyone else could have handled the situation better than she did. If you’re looking for a fun, challenging and unforgettable cinema trip trust me ZOLA is the film for you.