Eve's Bayou (1996) - Rotten Tomatoes

Eve's Bayou (1996)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

A young girl learns some difficult lessons about truth, love, and fidelity in this critically-acclaimed Southern gothic drama. Eve Batiste (Jurnee Smollett) is a ten-year-old girl whose father Louis (Samuel L. Jackson) is a successful and well-liked doctor in an African-American community in Louisiana. Louis is a good father and an excellent provider, but he also has a way of attracting the ladies, and he's not inclined to turn them away. One night, the Batistes hold a party, and Eve, her older sister Cisely (Meagan Good), and their mother Roz (Lynn Whitfield) all notice that Louis is spending a great deal of time dancing with the same woman. Eve later spies her father and the woman in an embrace in the carriage house, though Louis unconvincingly claims that nothing untoward was happening. The evidence of Louis' infidelity takes a toll on the entire family: Cisely, who at age 14 is walking the middle-ground between being a girl and a woman, becomes sullen and confused about her new emotions, Roz takes out her frustrations on her loved ones, and Eve visits Elzora (Diahann Carroll), a voodoo priestess, looking for advice and possibly revenge. Meanwhile, Eve's Aunt Mozelle (Debbi Morgan), who claims to have psychic powers, arrives to stay with the family after the death of her third husband, though she isn't lonely for long after meeting the eccentric Julien Greyraven (Vondie Curtis-Hall). Eve's Bayou was the first project as writer-director for actress Kasi Lemmons; leading man Samuel L. Jackson also co-produced.more
Rating: R (For sexuality and language)
Genre: Drama
Directed By:
Written By: Kasi Lemmons
In Theaters:
On DVD: Feb 27, 2001
Lions Gate Films


Jurnee Smollett
as Eve Batiste
Meagan Good
as Cisely Batiste
Samuel L. Jackson
as Louis Batiste
Lynn Whitfield
as Roz Batiste
Debbi Morgan
as Mozelle Batiste Dela...
Jake Smollett
as Poe Baptiste
Jake Smollet
as Poe Batiste
Ethel Ayler
as Gran Mere
Vondie Curtis-Hall
as Julian Grayraven
Lisa Nicole Carson
as Matty Mereaux
Tamara Tunie
as Narrator
Roger Guenveur Smith
as Lenny Mereaux
Branford Marsalis
as Harry Delacroix
Afonda Colbert
as Henrietta
Ron Flagge
as Vendor
Carol Sutton
as Madame Renard
Victoria Rowell
as Stevie Hobbs
Oneal A. Isaac
as Bus Driver
Julian Dalcour
as Bartender
Allen Toussaint
as Proprietor
Billie Neal
as Ghost of Original Ev...
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Eve's Bayou

Critic Reviews for Eve's Bayou

All Critics (54) | Top Critics (17)

Subplots are woven stealthily into the story, taking the pressure off the central drama, allowing it to be affecting rather than melodramatic, and heightening the atmosphere of the lush Louisiana setting.

Full Review… | March 19, 2008
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

A sparkling directorial debut.

Full Review… | April 27, 2007
New York Observer
Top Critic

An intensely emotional drama that mixes elements of Southern Gothic with the kinds of characters and tensions that prevail in the plays of Southern writers like Tennessee Williams.

Full Review… | June 24, 2006
Top Critic

Writer/director Kasi Lemmons shows sweet judgment here, doesn't caricature or demonise the errant father, and elicits a host of nuanced performances from women of all ages.

Full Review… | June 24, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

A gothic and, for better or worse, poetic memoir about a young girl and her family of Creole aristocrats.

Full Review… | June 18, 2002
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic

In Eve's Bayou, Tennessee goes to Louisiana, and finds a familiar home. Tennessee Williams, that is.

Full Review… | April 12, 2002
Globe and Mail
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Eve's Bayou

A young girl with a philandering father and a psychic aunt comes of age in a Louisiana bayou.
Strictly in the tradition of Southern Gothic storytelling, this film falls all too often into cliche -- cliches that anyone familiar with the Southern Gothic genre know all too well. The atmosphere of the film, which most people liked, is created by the soft monologues and the panning scenic shots, but I found the monologues poorly written and detracting from the scene and the connective tissue of the film doesn't do much to advance the central story.
Young Jurnee Smollett is quite good, capturing her character's childhood innocence, but her elocution betrays her inexperience, and Lynn Whitfield is responsible for making her monologues feel like departures rather than necessary elements of the story.
Overall, this is a basic Southern Gothic film, and if you've seen them all, then you've seen this one.

Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer


One of the Galas from the 1997 Toronto International Film Festival, and a Gala it is. Directed by Kasi Lemmons whose work's need to be explored further, along with this DVD came Dr Hugo, a short excellent film. By Eve's Bayou just short of 5 stars, Eve is a very young girl and we explore her young life and those around her, Samuel Jackson (Her Dad) houses many secrets that are none to none by Eve. Also Eve has an Aunt who is a fortune teller, and Eve seeks the help of a Voodoo Lady. There is many secrets that tear Eve's family apart. All in all a great movie with a great cast. worth seeing and worth adding to any collection. 4 1/2 stars

Bruce Bruce

Super Reviewer

Should have received more attention at the time of its release, we have a very good performance by Samuel L. Jackson here.

John Ballantine
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer

Eve's Bayou Quotes

There are no approved quotes yet for this movie.

Discussion Forum

Discuss Eve's Bayou on our Movie forum!