ZOLA ★★★★1/2 Letterboxd Score
Direction By: Janicza Bravo
Written By: Janicza Bravo and Jeremy O. Harris
Starring: Taylour Paige, Riley Keough, Nicolas Braun, Colman Domingo
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All it took was 140 characters and some imagination. “Zola”, a story loosely based on true events that were entirely inspired by this twitter thread. This is the only tweet to film adaptation I am currently aware of, so it’s refreshing to see something other than a book to film adaptation. It was incredibly well-received by the audience I was in. This is a film that continues its theme by using the familiar iPhone notification sounds we all know so well, always in perfect comedic timing.
“Zola” starts out with Zola (Taylour Paige) as she’s waiting tables. She meets a rambunctious young white girl named Stefani (Riley Keough). Stefani then convinces Zola to take a cross country journey from Detroit to Florida to strip at a club that she thinks they can make good money at. So Zola agrees. So Stefani, Zola, Derrek (Steffani’s timid white boyfriend), and X (Stefani’s undisclosed pimp) set off to Florida and that is where things take a turn for the worst.
Zola starts to get it. They’re not in Florida to strip at some shitty, cheap club. Stefani lied to her. After Zola finds out Stefani’s real plan, she tries to leave, but X isn’t having it. He threatens her to stick around and for her safety, she does but she does it her way.
“Zola” is wild. It is a continuous journey into the unknown that leaves you hanging on your seat. Of course, some moments relieve the tension with humor, but you cannot help but to clench up and root for Zola and hope she gets out this predicament.
This is one film that you cannot miss in 2020. It has everything, suspense, humor, action, drama, and the inspiration for resilience. Zola never once thought to give up. She truly embodied what it means to be a badass and bucked up. She did things her way and despite the incredibly unfortunate situation, she pressed forward. Honestly, Zola may not be that role model for young girls, but she is that role model for women stuck in a world that is dominated by male figures and to that I say; find that inner Zola and stand up for yourself and be that badass bitch.
And be careful who invites to strip in strip clubs in Florida.