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Jungle Fever (1991)

tomatometer

89

Average Rating: 6.8/10
Critic Reviews: 9
Fresh: 8 | Rotten: 1

No consensus yet.

audience

67

liked it
Average Rating: 3.3/5
User Ratings: 15,275

My Rating

Movie Info

Spike Lee defines "jungle fever" as sexual attraction between members of two races. In his film Jungle Fever, he examines the repercussions of an interracial affair upon two very distinct communities. Wesley Snipes is Flipper, a happily married and successful architect, and Annabella Sciorra is Angie, an office temp. When she starts working in Flipper's Manhattan office, one day they look at each other and are soon having sex over a blueprint-strewn desk. Their liaison causes an explosion on

R,

Drama, Romance

May 15, 2001

MCA Universal Home Video

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All Critics (35) | Top Critics (9) | Fresh (30) | Rotten (5) | DVD (3)

Lee tackles the subject of interracial romance from the unavoidable vantage point that, while things today are more open, they are also considerably more volatile and complex.

September 22, 2008 Full Review Source: Variety
Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

There are so many voices you may think you're swimming through a maelstrom, but thanks to Lee it's all superbly orchestrated.

September 22, 2008 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Lee is in fine form.

April 7, 2008 Full Review Source: Newsweek
Newsweek
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Instead of showing how prejudice seeps into the private intimacies of daily life, the film turns its attention to the other characters.

February 9, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Jungle Fever is not to be underestimated or ignored.

May 12, 2001
Rolling Stone
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Brilliant when it examines the people who surround his feverish couple, but uncertain when it comes to the lovers themselves.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A thematic follow up to Do the Right Thing, this is a powerful melodrama about the fatal and fateful effects of interracial romance.

January 28, 2013 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com
EmanuelLevy.Com

Lee brings a shotgun to a knife fight, but his visual energy is undeniably effective, spraying the screen with venom and appalling realities, with most of the feature locked in confessional mode.

June 9, 2011 Full Review Source: BrianOrndorf.com
BrianOrndorf.com

Always provocative.

April 27, 2011 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Includes a number of memorable set pieces, most notably a visit to a crack den which, accompanied by the epic sound of Stevie Wonder's "Living In The City," is simply unforgettable.

September 22, 2008 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

It's uneven, but its best moments -- such as Samuel L Jackson's performance -- are amongst Lee's finest achievements on film.

September 22, 2008 Full Review Source: Film4
Film4

Though Wesley Snipes and Annabella Sciorra perform well, the script provides no deeper motivations or meanings for their relationship. Situations around them prove more interesting and dynamic.

September 22, 2008 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Spike Lee's blunt and flippant look at forbidden interracial romance set against an urban backdrop of ethnic cynicism. Nobody knows how to examine the hostility of race relations in the movies so effectively such as the brash Lee. Jungle Fever is confront

May 31, 2003
TheWorldJournal.com

Lee is one of the most important American filmmakers of the past two decades, and the challenges, sincerity, humanity and fierceness of his work are all on display in Jungle Fever.

November 7, 2002 Full Review Source: Netflix
Netflix

A smart, very assured film about interracial relations but also about racial misconceptions in general.

September 10, 2002 Full Review Source: Montreal Film Journal
Montreal Film Journal

Spike Lee's disturbing film about the racial, gender, class, and social tensions in urban America.

February 13, 2002 Full Review Source: Spirituality and Practice
Spirituality and Practice

Lee's mosaic has some masterful background details but a gaping hole at the center.

January 9, 2002 Full Review Source: Movieline
Movieline

I believe that Lee has some interesting things to say about it, but he gets too weighted down by the dubiousness of it all.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: eFilmCritic.com
eFilmCritic.com

Lee is never content to show one side of the picture and he attempts to address issues that he's not even convinced he's on the wrong side of.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Austin Chronicle
Austin Chronicle

There's no question that this is Lee's most ambitious and successful work so far, but it will be nice if, in the future, he has enough confidence in his story to let down even more of his affectations.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Deseret News, Salt Lake City
Deseret News, Salt Lake City

Audience Reviews for Jungle Fever

What we have here is Spike Lee's thematic sequel to Do The Right Thing. While ultimately an exploration of inner city life for different cultural, economic, and racial groups, the main focus is on the consequences, repercussions, and attitudes towards interracial relationships.

The film has noble ambitions and aims, but a lot of the strength is undermined primarily by some surprisingly untimely music cues from Stevie Wonder and a really bloated, meandering run time.

I liked how the film explored the issue of mixed dating from different viewpoints, but I found it odd how it neglects to really capture the situation from the perspective of the two main parties: a well to do black architect, and his working class Italian secretary. Aside from mixed dating, the film does take a more general look at big city life, with special attention paid to crack addiction.

The film is extremely well shot, with some well used camera moves (including a ripping long take), and, despite being flawed, does offer a great amount of substance and food for thought. It also contains some terrific performances from a notable ensemble cast, which includes names like Wesley Snipes, Anna Sciorra, Anthony Quinn, Spike Lee, Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee, John Turturro, and briefer appearances from Brad Dourif, Tim Robbins, Queen Latifah, Halle Berry (this being the debut for those latter two), as well as a breakout turn from Samuel L. Jackson as the crackhead Gator.

All in all, the film is kind of a mess, but it does have its moments, so yeah, give it a go.
March 31, 2013
cosmo313
Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

This was made before I started sighing during Spike Lee movies. I thought the performances here were fabulous.
February 16, 2010
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer

For some reason I don't seem to ever watch a Spike Lee film in one sitting. The only ones I did were Do the Right Thing and Clockers. I did two sittings for this one, it's not a bad thing, but I just feel a lack of concentration when he does extended intimate portraits on his characters. Anyways, this 'joint' didn't feel like it dragged on, nor did it feel too short but I felt by the end of it that the central theme was slightly forgotten about. I think that's because all the supporting characters (especially Samuel L Jackson) are just so much more interesting than the central two.
April 12, 2012
Hassan Vawda

Super Reviewer

I'll admit to not realising racism was still so prominent in the 90's, but I didn't grow up in New York. Anyway, Snipes cheats on his wife with a white woman (technically she's Italian, there aren't actually any "white" people in this film), and the rest of the film is simply an exploration of peoples attitudes towards mixed-dating. And it all goes over the top: instead of simply accepting that Snipes cheated because he felt an attraction, his wife reckons he cheated because of some hereditary nonsense. The camerawork is excellent as are Samuel L Jackson and John Turturro. The score is fucking terrible - I know Stevie Wonder is a talented musician but something went wrong. If they'd managed to chuck in a plot somewhere this could be really good. As it is, I spent most of the film recalling that bit in MP's Holy Grail where everyone shouts "Get on with it!"
February 13, 2010
Lemure

Super Reviewer

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