I am a hopeless romantic. I love watching love, hearing about love, and reading about love.
My favourite type of romantic content are romantic dramas with heavy dialogue: movies that not only explore love, but the human condition in a meaningful way. From Before Sunrise to Under the Tuscan Sun, I can revel forever.
One such movie that is underrated is Love Jones, which follows the story of Darius Lovehall, played by Larenz Tate, and Nina Mosley, played by Nia Long. Nina is a photographer who has just left a long-term relationship with a neglectful boyfriend, while Darius is a poet and a hopeless romantic.
They meet at a nightclub where Darius is performing poetry and, unbeknownst to Nina, he dedicates a poem to her. From there, a relationship begins to bloom.
Although the premise is simple, the film is monumental.
While movies such as The Wood and The Best Man do explore the love lives of Black people, Love Jones is absolutely the first popular Black film that truly feels more indie than commercial.
Unlike the heavy dialogue, artistic shots, and meditation on the lives of twenty-somethings living in a big city in Before Sunrise, Love Jones has no big scenes or dramatic arcs.
Instead, this film is about love in all stages.
It demonstrates the ebb and flow of two people who love each other but struggle to be on the same page. They want to love and to know what love is, but they are torn by their professional pursuits. Watching this as a teenager, I did not understand the beauty of the film. I thought it was just about two people who couldn’t make up their minds.
But after rewatching it in my twenties, my perspective shifted. It’s now painfully familiar.
On top of that, the film has an incredible soundtrack with Lauryn Hill, Duke Ellington, and John Coltrane. If you really like that jazz club episode from The Proud Family or enjoy a beautifully filmed romantic drama, this film is for you.