She's Gotta Have It (1986)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Spike Lee's breakthrough independent feature, shot in fifteen days on a budget of $175,000, ushered in (along with Jim Jarmusch's Stranger Than Paradise) the American independent film movement of the 1980s. It was also a groundbreaking film for African-American filmmakers and a welcome change in the representation of blacks in American cinema, depicting men and women of color not as pimps and whores, but as intelligent, upscale urbanites. Lee's slight tale, which carries much psychological and historical baggage, concerns Nola Darling (Tracy Camila Johns), a young, self-assured Brooklyn woman who juggles three boyfriends -- the polite and well-meaning Jamie Overstreet (Tommy Redmond Hicks), the self-obsessed male model Greer Childs (John Canada Terrell), and the comical bicycle messenger Mars Blackmon (Spike Lee). Nola doesn't want to commit to any of her boyfriends, cherishing her personal freedom. But as their relationships with Nola grow, each man wants her for himself.
R (adult situations/language, nudity)
Comedy , Romance
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment

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Spike Lee
as Mars Blackman, Mars Blackmon
Tracy Camilla Johns
as Nola Darling
Tommy Redmond Hicks
as Jamie Overstreet
John Canada Terrell
as Greer Childs
John Terrell
as Greer Childs
Raye Dowell
as Opal Gilstrap
Joie Lee
as Clorinda Bradford
S. Epatha Merkerson
as Dr. Jamison
Epatha Merkinson
as Dr. Jamison
Bill Lee
as Sonny Darling
Kathy Banks
as Receptionist
Steve Nicks
as Soundman
Pamm Jackson
as Female Walk-On
Monty Ross
as Dog 1
Eric Payne
as Dog 5
Scott Sillers
as Dog 11
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News & Interviews for She's Gotta Have It

Critic Reviews for She's Gotta Have It

All Critics (28) | Top Critics (4)

All the elements of an interesting yarn are implicit here -- save one: a compelling central figure

Full Review… | March 17, 2008
Top Critic

This delightful low-budget comedy, with its all black cast and black humour, is 100 per cent Lee.

Full Review… | February 8, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

The film probes important and intriguing questions, even if the characters are not explored as thoroughly as they might have been.

Full Review… | May 21, 2003
New York Times
Top Critic

Made for less than $30,000, Lee's first feature posed him as a mid-80s rival to Woody Allen, nearly equaling him in the psychological authenticity of his characters and perhaps bettering him in grace and virtuosity and sheer creative glee.

Full Review… | April 15, 2002
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Light, scrappy entertainment that flatters everything funky and fresh about Lee, tempting you to forgive what is stunted or abrasive in the film. A major swaying element is his own on-screen persona.

Full Review… | July 11, 2011
Nick's Flick Picks

Combining humor, drama, and documentary techniques, Lee has created an energetic film that takes an unflinching look at modern sexuality -- specifically black sexuality.

Full Review… | March 17, 2008
TV Guide

Audience Reviews for She's Gotta Have It

How is it possible that a movie that is worse than the worst home movie imaginable could garner so much critical praise? I don't know, but I'll tell you one thing it looks more like Mr. Lee embezzled a big film budget rather than was working with a small one. People who watch this movie shouldn't pay to watch it,they should be paid to watch it, and hazardous duty pay at that.

Naomi Gonzalostein
Naomi Gonzalostein

Spike Lee first real picture is funny. Especially when you consider the fact that Spike was still a student at the time, this film is incredible. The plot is intriguing, although a little more sexual than I wished. The best part about the whole film though, is Spike Lee himself. He's hilarious. An interesting watch.

Samuel Hunter
Samuel Hunter

Yeah, the performances don't always hit the mark - at times Tracy Camilla Jones (in her only starring role) and Tommy Redmond Hicks come off a little too 'actorly' - but it's just fine when put into context of Spike Lee giving it his all as his calling card, including a dance number IN COLOR! Thank you, Ernest Dickerson. Hell, even some 25 or so years later the documentary aspect, which has been aped by countless films and TV shows, is fresh and fun, especially with the "Dogs" giving the pick-up lines. And of course there's Mars Blackmon himself... Please baby please, baby baby please please!

Jack Gattanella
Jack Gattanella

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