Actress Kasi Lemmons made an auspicious debut as a writer and director with this delicately handled, wrenchingly emotional drama, hailed by critic Roger Ebert as one of the best films of 1997. Eve's Bayou begins with omino... more »us narration: "The summer I killed my father, I was 10 years old." From that point the story moves backward in time and memory to Louisiana in 1962, when a young girl named Eve (Jurnee Smollett) witnesses a shocking act on the part of her womanizing father (Samuel L. Jackson). But what really happened? And can Eve be certain about what she saw when there is more than one interpretation of the facts? Less a mystery than a study of deeply rooted emotions rising to the surface to affect an entire family, the film has the quality of classic Southern literature, with layers of memory unfolding to reveal a carefully guarded truth. --Jeff Shannon« less
Vannie Ryanes | South Orange, New Jersey United States | 11/05/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Eve's Bayou is a spectacular movie. The color and scenery is wonderful and the people are elegant and troubled. Even the character's names stir up visions of dark swamp water and sultry heat. The story is told and seen through the eyes of little Eve Batiste played by a wonderful young actress named Jurnee Smollett. Eve takes us deep into her world which is filled with colorful characters and complex personalities.Diahann Carroll is fabulous as the old fortune teller Elzora with her insane laughter. Debbi Morgan as Aunt Mozelle Batiste Delacroix is something to behold. Aunt Mozelle has promised her family that she will not use her "second sight" to tell fortunes, but neighbors won't let her keep her promise. They seek her out to find missing husbands anyway. Lynn Whitfied as the manor born wife is beautiful and poised as she tries to keep her family together in spite of her wandering husband (Samuel L. Jackson). Jackson is very sexy in this movie and his character has roving eyes as well as roving hands that don't stop even when he is caught in a compromising position by his youngest daughter, Eve. This starts a set of events that lead to the total destruction of an already deeply troubled family.Although this movie did not make history at the box office my guess is that it will become a cult classic. Years from now this movie will be viewed for what it is, a brilliantly produced film. You can literally feel the Louisiana heat from Eve's Bayou. Vannie"
Memory is a selection of images...
A. Gyurisin | Wet, Wild, Wonderful Virginia | 10/11/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is director Kasi Lemmons' first film and she has entered the world of cinema with a very bold start. Eve's Bayou is a very passionate story about life and love with a family surrounded by dark secrets. Lemmons' has boldly introduced us to a world in which magic is obvious and characters are deeply developed. There isn't one actor in this film that you do not fully appreciate. Everyone in this film gives everything that they have to help create this hidden masterpiece. Roger Ebert named this film the best of 1997, and I agree whole-heartedly. What makes this film different from other films of this nature is that Lemmons keeps us grounded. We are constantly reminded of where we are and whom we are dealing with. There is not some outside element trying to sneak in and disrupt the peace; it is a completely internal movie that allows us to devote ourselves to this desperate family. She controls Jackson with the greatest of ease, and gives us one of the most powerful child performances ever. If I had the chance to give the Oscar to Jurnee Smollett for her role of Eve in this film, I would have gladly handed it to her. Her performance commanded the film. She was the strongest and most beautifully developed character in this film. Smollett was outstanding. I have never been so impressed with a child actor as I was with her in this film. Her eyes gave us all the drama that we needed. I never thought that I would witness acting in its purest form come from a child. For anything, this film is worth seeing just for the performance of Smollett. She literally steals the scenes from everyone, even Mr. Jackson.
I mentioned earlier that I loved the fact that this film kept us grounded by continually showing us scenes from the bayou. It kept our minds focused on where we were and the environment that surrounded these troubled people. Amazingly, Lemmons has transformed this setting into more than just a place, she has given it life. Not only through our characters, but it also is the center of most of the magic that occurs. It is a very symbolic reference. A bayou is a creek or a secondary waterway that is a passageway to another larger body of water. In this film, Eve represents the bayou as she travels to her family, the larger body of water. Also, whenever Mozelle calls upon the "spirits" her first sight is of the bayou. Lemmons may be saying that the bayou is more than just water, it is the center of everyone's universe in this town. Perhaps it has more meanings, but I really felt that Lemmons was using the bayou as more than just a place setting, it spoke to me more about the characters.
Finally, I would like to add that coupled with the amazing acting, Lemmons gives some of the most memorable direction behind the camera. The scenes when Mozelle speaks about how she lost her second husband (the one that loved her the most) because her lover wanted her to himself was riveting. Told through the mirror, this was one of the most interesting ways to tell a flashback. Instead of using the classic "black and white" or faded lines trick, Lemmons actually brought the scene to us. We witness it firsthand and this allows us to be impacted deeper. I felt the connection, and it worked.
Overall, this was a gem. I wasn't expecting to see such a caliber of acting and direction as I did in this film. The cinematography was outstanding. Lemmons has an eye and a passion for this film, and it is apparent with every scene that she captures. The Batiste family engulfs all of your emotion. Lemmons takes innocent children and captures you within their world, giving you only brief moments to breathe. She shows us the power behind Jackson's voice and the ability he has to expand his career. This was a surprise for me, but a well enjoyed surprise. I suggest you check this film out when time permits. It is a rare find that you will probably see in the bargain bin at any local store. Pick it up and enjoy it. I do not think you will be disappointed.
Grade: **** out of *****"
My only 5 star reveiw!
Victor | Albany, NY | 02/27/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I don't ever give 5 stars because can any movie or music be perfect? This one is. I first saw this movie in 1997 and have veiwed this movie over 2 dozen times since then. One reason is because I love it so much the other is because just when I think I have the answer to this story, I notice a scene or a line that makes me change all my previous notions. No other film I've ever seen has ever done that. The replay value of this movie is un unending. There is a mystery in this film but it's a perfect mystery that doesn't beg for you to solve it, it just let's you believe what you wish until you scratch the surface that is. Now for my political rant: This movie should have won all kinds of awards including from the academy, but it didn't. That year was the year the academy saw fit to recognize Independent films, remember? I wonder why they would do that, whatever could be the reason???"
"I need to be a hero."
Kona | Emerald City | 05/21/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"As this wonderful movie opens, we enter the world of Eve's Bayou, the Louisiana home of ten-year old Eve (Jurnee Smollett) and her charming, philandering father Louis (Samuel L. Jackson), her glamorous and superstitious mother, her psychic aunt (Debbi Turner), and her big sister who idolizes Daddy as much as Eve does. The narrator's opening line concerns a murder, and we wait for this terrible event to occur.
I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this movie. It drew me in and held me spellbound, with it's believable story and likeable characters. We really get to know and care about Eve's family and all their secrets. The actors are uniformly excellent, especially the young star, Jurnee Smollett. The director succeeds by constantly reminding us of the picturesque bayou setting and its unique community. As the story got closer and closer to the inevitable tragedy, I was almost holding my breath. It's an intense story about real, multi-layered people. Highly recommended."
Great and Heart felt Film!!!!
Jenny J.J.I. | That Lives in Carolinas | 11/25/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A truly impressive and memorable debut by Kasy Lemmons. Beautifully acted and masterfully conceived of the supernatural on the bayou. It takes you back to a time when magic and voodoo were really big and highly believed in. An absorbing story that has otherworldliness to it and that is what makes this film exceptional, everything from bayou, fortunetellers and spells are interwoven into the story in a fascinating way. But also the acting is truly impressive, not a bum characterization in the whole cast, even the younger cast members are great.
Lynn Whitfield who is beautiful and poised has delivers a powerful performance as Jackson's tortured wife who must put up with Jackson's affairs with other women to keep a stable household but yet is in denial of what is happening around her. Debbi Morgan is also memorable as Jackson's sister who has a supernatural gift. There is a scene where she explains the death of her second husband to young Smollett that is masterfully surreal, a gem of a scene that is a highpoint in the film, as is the powerful ending. The performance of Eve (Smollett) almost stopped my heart, that little girl could really make you feel what she was feeling and boy can she act. And Cisely (Good) also did a wonderful job. I really cried with her and my heart went out to her; she only loved her father.
Samuel L. Jackson delivers a powerful performance; as the doctor-father whose need for love and affirmation is so engulfing that he seeks it anywhere and everywhere. But heading this terrific cast is the young Jurnee Smollett; she plays a key role and carries the whole film on her shoulders. A lyrical drama with surreal undertones.