She's Gotta Have It (1986) - Rotten Tomatoes

She's Gotta Have It (1986)




Critic 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.

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

Critic Reviews for She's Gotta Have It

All Critics (31) | Top Critics (4)

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

March 17, 2008 | Full Review…

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

February 9, 2006 | Full Review…
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.

April 15, 2002 | 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.

September 11, 2018 | Full Review…

Nola is an unapologetic, sexually independent character who refuses to commit to a single man and resists the efforts of the men in her life to change who she is to please them.

December 16, 2017 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for She's Gotta Have It


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 Xx
xGary Xx

Super Reviewer

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