DIRECTOR: JANICZA BRAVO
CAST: TAYLOUR PAIGE, RILEY KEOUGH, NICHOLAS BRAUN, COLMAN DOMINGO
"Y’all wanna hear a story about why me & this bitch here fell out? It’s kind of long but full of suspense.”
Thus began the odyssey of one A’Ziah King, aka ZOLA. From acclaimed writer/director Janicza Bravo, Zola's stranger than fiction saga, which she first told in a now iconic series of viral, uproarious tweets, comes to dazzling cinematic life.
Zola (newcomer Taylour Paige), a Detroit waitress, strikes up a new friendship with a customer, Stefani (Riley Keough), who seduces her to join a weekend of dancing and partying in Florida. What at first seems like a glamorous trip full of “hoeism” rapidly transforms into a 48-hour journey involving a nameless pimp, an idiot boyfriend, some Tampa gangsters and other unexpected adventures in this wild, see-it-to-believe-it tale.
While adaptations of books and plays are common, this might be (definitely is?) the first movie based on a Twitter thread, from geniuses Janicza Bravo and Jeremy O'Harris. “Those tweets that could have fallen by the wayside are the best of the 2000s," O'Harris said about the film's source material. "We have to treat this like it’s Emily Dickinson." The ability to see inspirational possibility even in mediums that we might reflexively dismiss feels like the mark of a great storyteller, someone who can glean a spark from any direction. The resulting movie is playful and capacious and bacchanalian, a total pleasure.