She's Gotta Have It

Critics Consensus

With She's Gotta Have It, Spike Lee delivered his bracing first shot across Hollywood's bow -- and set the template for the groundbreaking act to follow.



Total Count: 32


Audience Score

User Ratings: 6,592
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Movie Info

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.


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Critic Reviews for She's Gotta Have It

All Critics (32) | Top Critics (4) | Fresh (29) | Rotten (3)

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

    Mar 17, 2008 | Full Review…

    Variety Staff

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

    Feb 9, 2006 | Full Review…
    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.

    May 21, 2003 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • 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.

    Apr 15, 2002 | Full Review…
  • She's Gotta Have It is cleverly crafted.

    Aug 23, 2019 | Full Review…
  • It's going backwards in order to move the conversation forward... This could and should have been good but, ultimately, there are too many holes, too many monologues and too many things for me to get over for me to actually enjoy it.

    Sep 11, 2018 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for She's Gotta Have It

  • Jul 21, 2007
    Spike Lee's debut feature is a racially orientated sex comedy examining attitudes within a love triangle of black suburbanites. Some witty lines but it's a little affected and self-absorbed, and it often feels like an african-american rip off of a Woody Allen film. Not bad though.
    xGary X Super Reviewer

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