She Hate Me (USA; 138 min.)


directed by: Spike Lee
starring: Anthony Mackie; Kerry Washington; Dania Ramirez
She Hate Me
 
Ivy says: "My phrase for this movie is: She Hate It.

"Although Kerry Washington’s performance was good, and there were lots of good appearances from some of my other favorite indie actresses I do think that the film was more of a premature baby. Well, babies – since it was really like a set of conjoined twins. Maybe with more time to gestate it would’ve ended up being two good films but instead its just a mess.

"Now I want to go back and see 25TH HOUR, I bet I would like it now."

 

Michael says: "I can't really imagine what is going through the mind of Spike Lee. Nor can I remotely intuit what he's trying to say with his latest film, SHE HATE ME. There is clearly a lot of passion behind this film... perhaps a little too much. SHE HATE ME is two very different stories, that each could have been their own movie, grafted together in some sort of lengthy essay on morality. Spike whips himself into such a frenzy that he completely loses control of his film and ends up with a 138 minute, beautifully shot, well-acted mess.

The film is pretty sloppy, as Lee introduces too many major storylines. Editing is shoddy and the screenplay is stiff and filled with errors.SHE HATE ME is also potentially offensive, as Lee plays around, as he often does, with stereotypes and expectations. Again, I have no idea where Lee is coming from or what he's trying to say, but I tried to view SHE HATE ME as the satire it was meant to be... but it got so sincerely earnest at various points that it became difficult.

It seems that the disparate stories are all revolving around morality. Jack Armstrong (Anthony Mackie) blows the whistle on corrupt practices in the pharmaceutical company where he is a vice-president, and the company's slimy president (played by Woody Harrelson) uses his influence to pin the blame on Armstrong. With his assets and savings frozen by the SEC, Armstrong reluctantly agrees to a money-making scheme proposed by an ex-girlfriend Fatima (Kerry Washington). For $10,000, Fatima asks Jack to impregnate her and her girlfriend Alex. Eventually, a stream of lesbians pay Jack to get them pregnant. One of those women is Simona (Monica Bellucci) the daughter of a mafia boss (John Turturro) whose family possesses a morality all their own.

While questioning the morality of certain acts is dubious or narrow-minded, not to mention pretty judgemental, Lee really loses control as his film nears completion. His ending, particularly to the Jack/Fatima/Alex triangle is rather confounding. And the film is overlong, with many sequences repeated, both told, and then shown, something that grew tiresom.

But somehow, I enjoyed SHE HATE ME more than I should have. I enjoyed seeing our pal Kerry Washington in a starring role, and her performance was terrific, even with her difficult character. Ellen Barkin was strong in a small supporting role. Lead Anthony Mackie (also featured in THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE in theatres now) is an appealing leading man. Given the proper choices, he could rival Denzel Washington as one of Hollywood's few African-American leading men. And the posse of lesbians featured lots of intriguing and beautiful actresses who were fun to watch. Cinemtography by Chlotrudis-winner Matthew Libatique (PI, REQUIEM FOR A DREAM) was clean and interesting. It's too bad the screenplay and director couldn't have done a better job. 2 1/2 cats."

 
Scot says: "I’ve only left the theater in the middle of the film for a smoke twice. The first time was LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST." 1/2 cat