“Same b-tch that wanna smile in your face be the same b-tch that wanna come for you later”
When small, indie-focused distributor A24 attaches itself to a movie, my interest is always heightened. But, I may be here to tell you that this is the first misfire movie from the distributor leaving me wanting more than what I received. 😕
With a tagline like, “Ya’ll wanna hear a story about why me & this b-tch here fell out? It’s kind of long but full of suspense,” you’d think the possibilities with a stripper named Zola embarking on a wild road trip to Florida would be the ultimate movie for 2021. Nope. 👎
Zola is not based on a book or a play, but is based on a true story told in a popular twitter thread containing 148 tweets written by Detroit waitress A’Ziah “Zola” King in October 2015. The Twitter thread gained recognition of people such as Missy Elliott, Solange, and Ava DuVernay. It even got Rolling Stone magazine to publish an article interviewing the people involved in the story. The thread went viral for all the right reasons – it reads as a wild, unbelievable ride…but somehow it doesn’t translate enough on the big screen.
A24 has always offered spectacular, offbeat flare from all their indie gems. The problem with Zola is that we don’t get a deep look into the two main characters who connected through social media. It’s all very surface level. Because their characters are so underdeveloped, despite tremendous acting, I didn’t really care about them. Their plight and their stakes feel muted to the point where I wasn’t surprised or moved by any conflict that crossed their path. I was bored. On top of all that, the tone of the film was all over the place…it’s a raunchy comedy, but then at times feels extremely dark. While it gives flashbacks of movies like Spring Breakers, or The Florida Project, it lacks serious cohesiveness and characters we kind of cared about.
“Sure, what went down was crazy, but even with all of the dramatic license (read “embellishment and exaggeration”), one doubts this was even the 10th-most-insane thing that happened in Tampa over the weekend of March 27, 2015. It’s just the one that Zola happened to tweet about, and now we all know her story.” via Variety
It should go without saying that this movie is beyond creative with all the whimsical aesthetics one could hope for from a movie based on a Twitter thread. With a plot involving a wild trip to Florida, strippers, drug dealers, and all millennial ticks and tricks, you’d think I would have been a little more engaged. This may be a situation where you should save your time watching the movie, and read the Twitter thread instead. 🤷♀️