The Watermelon Woman (1997)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

Cheryl is a twenty-something black lesbian working as a clerk in a video store while struggling to make a documentary about Fae Richards, an obscure black actress from the 1930's. Cheryl is surprised to discover that Richards (known popularly as "the Watermelon Woman") had a white lesbian lover. At the same time, Cheryl falls in love with a very cute white customer at the video store.
Comedy , Drama , Gay & Lesbian
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
Dancing Girl Productions

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Cheryl Dunye
as Cheryl
Lisa Marie Bronson
as Fae Richards/The Watermelon Woman
Camille Paglia
as Herself
Irene Dunye
as Mrs. Dunye
Cheryl Clarke
as Shirley
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Critic Reviews for The Watermelon Woman

All Critics (6) | Top Critics (1)

...a unique film and a real time capsule of the 1990s when movie geeks hung out at video stores.

Full Review… | April 21, 2016

The narrative, abot a black lesbian director, is elliptical and circular, borrowing its format from Jim McBride's seminal David Holtzman's Diary, at the end of which, the viewers realize they have been watching a fake documentary.

Full Review… | October 31, 2006

Quote not available.

April 30, 2004
Worcester Telegram & Gazette

Quote not available.

December 31, 1999
Apollo Guide

Quote not available.

Full Review… | December 31, 1999
Austin Chronicle

Quote not available.

Full Review… | December 31, 1999
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for The Watermelon Woman

The Watermelon Woman is a fascinating look at the way black lesbian women communicate today and how the depictions of black women in the media and classic films inform their current situations. The fact that it goes several layers of fiction deep, fabricating a gay black actress from the 1930s and having actors present themselves as if they actually knew her or knew of her while simultaneously including a narrative from the present acts as a brilliant comment on the ways in which the histories of black and lesbian women have been documented over time. The performances are a little stiff, but that really doesn't matter in a film so filled with ideas and so intelligently put together.

Reece Leonard
Reece Leonard

Entertaining, low-budget indie about a black lesbian (likeable Cheryl Dunye, more or less playing herself) trying to make her first film as well as find a stable relationship.

Jason Alley
Jason Alley

A very warm, funny and insightful comedy about the lack of representation of black lesbians throughout film history. Cheryl Dunye is amiable and energetic, and while the film may not be the most technically impressive work, it's a pleasure to spend time with.

Caleb McCandless
Caleb McCandless

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