"This is the film that gave Spike Lee his rise. It is a brilliant first film. Why is the movie viewing public having to wait for the release of this historical film on DVD and for that matter why is Girl 6 not on DVD. Every Spike Lee film ever made should now be available on DVD. She's Got to Have It on DVD NOW!"
Finally, the first Spike Lee joint on DVD!
The Fancy One | Westchester County, NY | 12/12/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It's been WAYYYY too long, but finally Spike Lee's debut, "She's Gotta Have It" has made it to DVD! It has always astounded me that Spike's other films have made it to DVD long before this one, but in January 2008, those of us who are fans of his work will get our wish. The ripple effect of this movie in the twenty-plus years since its release has been an abundance of films made for and by black folks - some of them good, some bad - but the main thing is that "She's Gotta Have It" proved that movies starring black actors do indeed have an audience and inspired many others to step out and attempt to make the same impact.
In case you may be one of the few who are unaware of the plot behind this deliciously brash and sexy comedy, it focuses on the lead character Nola Darling (Tracy Camilla Johns), a young Brooklyn print artist that has not one, but three lovers, all who feel that they are the right man for her. Nola makes no apologies for the type of woman she is...a virile, independent being who enjoys sex and enjoys giving it to whomever she is dealing with. She makes it known what it is she wants from a man, and the three that she juggles here are all sprung by her charms. She is the inattainable prize of these men who each want to have her to themselves. Of course, as the film progresses, they each are pushing her to make a choice between them, and she is unable to - and wondering just why she has to.
Nola's men are as different as day is from night: Jamie (Tommy Hicks), who is sweet, sensitive but possessive; Greer (John Canada Terrell), a narcissistic pretty-boy model who believes the world revolves around him and the loony offbeat homeboy on a bike, Mars (Spike Lee himself). The three guys represent qualities that Nola would probably like to find in one man, but since she hasn't, she deals with three.
Filmed on location in Spike's beloved Brooklyn on a bare-bones budget in 1986 in mostly black and white, this independent gem looks very much like a documentary at times, with characters talking to the camera. It was a very effective method and almost makes you feel like you are looking through a window at this young woman's love life. Some people have been critical of this movie, saying it portrays black women as promiscuous. But truthfully speaking, men have exhibited the same kind of "loose" behavior for centuries and they get pats on the back and told that they are "THE MAN". In sharp contrast, women get bashed if they live their lives the way Nola does in this film - a true double standard. She brings this up in the movie, and although you may not totally agree with her logic, you have to admit that she is on point.
The only real "negative" message I can see in "She's Gotta Have It" is the fact that this woman has three lovers in the age of AIDS, but aside from that, I have to commend Spike for continuing to make films that show various sides of black life, in either a humorous or serious light (or sometimes both at once) that were not normally shown to the mainstream. His work is essential, inspirational and of great historical value in African-American culture - hell, in AMERICAN culture, period! Add this movie to your Spike collection if you haven't done so already!
Update: Slightly disappointing about the DVD packaging is that there are no extras - no director's commentary, interviews with the cast or outtakes/deleted scenes (although the budget may not allowed for too many of those). These are things I would have liked to see included on the DVD, but I'll take this just the way it is! :)"
Please baby please baby please baby please!
D. Hartley | Seattle, WA USA | 02/15/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"One of director Spike Lee's earlier, funny films (his debut, actually). A sexy, hip, and fiercely independent young woman (Tracy Camilla Johns) juggles relationships with three men (who are all quite aware of each other's existence). Lee steals his own movie by casting himself as the goofiest and most memorable of the three suitors- "Mars", a hilarious trash-talking Brooklyn version of the classic Woody Allen nebbish. Lee milks maximum laughs from the huffing and puffing by the competing paramours, as they each jockey for the alpha position (and makes keen observations about sexist machismo and male vanity along the way). Spike's dad Bill Lee composed a lovely jazz-pop score. Despite being a little rough around the edges (due to low budget constraints) it was still a groundbreaking film in the context of modern independent cinema, and an empowering milestone for an exciting new wave of talented African-American filmmakers who followed in its wake."
No extras !!!!!!!!
Kool Aidd Smile | Bronx , New York | 01/16/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"i just bought Shes gotta have it. I am very glad its on dvd finally but i feel cheated,it has no extras. How hard would it be to put some extras not even a frickin commentary or trailer. Spike stop being cheap and have the video companies hook up your movies with some extras. documentary, commentary, deleted scenes, maybe a rare short film. Video companies how bout a comprehensive collection of the mans films something with a scholarly approach like criterion did Do The Right Thing"
On DVD At Long Last!!!! - Loooooooong Overdue!!!!
Raider Jack | San Francisco, CA United States | 12/13/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"When reviewing all of Spike's work, this is hands down, probably my all-time favorite. This project introduced us to the incomparable Mars Blackman, Spike's oh so charming alter ego. "She's Gotta Have It" is a wonderful treatise on the art of love and war from interesting perspectives. On top of that, it is quite hilarious.
It is a refreshing look at a black woman who insists on taking control of her sexuality rather than allowing it to be defined by men. There are general male observations, general female observations, and specific cultural outlooks on the art of love and war from an African-American perspective.
Tracy Camilla Johns, beautifully portraying the wonderfully developed character, Nola Darling, is perfectly cast as the independent black woman who, in her quest to be sexually independent, realizes this is an uphill journey when dealing with men who still have traditional ideas about women and their roles. She was actively dating more than one man simply because she had adapted the attitude that no one man can provide everything she wanted/needed and furthermore, it was terribly unfair to label her promiscuous for doing so. Interestingly enough, Nola also found that her own reactions when coming up against the same attitude in men, were amazingly traditional.
This was a very well-written statement on the ups and downs of love. It also introduces us to Law & Order's Divine Epatha Merkerson in a short but pivotal role as a sex therapist.