Eve’s Bayou (1997)
Memory is a selection of images, some elusive, others printed indelibly on the brain. The summer I killed my father, I was 10 years old.
It has been a decade since I have seen Kasi Lemmons’ Eve’s Bayou. I remember that it was sitting in my grandmother’s VHS shelf for years gathering dust for all I know. I saw a copy of the movie that my library and picked. I remember certain parts of the movie, but it’s good to have a refresher.
1962 Louisana is where we have the story of the Batiste family. Eve (Jurnee Smollett) named after an ancestor that saved her master from dying, is being treated unfairly by the family. Being the middle child, she is left out in the cold.
During a house party one night, Eve caught her father, Louis (Samuel L. Jackson) being intimate with a woman, Metty Mereaux (Lisa Nicole Carson) in the carriage house where she was hiding. Traumatized about what she saw, Louis tries to keep his secret quiet from his wife, Roz (Lynn Whitfield).
She tries to tell her older sister, Cisely (Meagan Good) about what she saw, but Cisely chooses not to believe her. She thinks that she is lying. Cisely spins the story to say that they were drunk and falling on each other.
Eve begins to have terrible nightmares or maybe they are premonitions of what things are to come. She hangs around her Aunt Mozelle (Debbi Morgan) who is the psychic around the bayou and possibly practices voodoo.
Roz knows deep down in her soul that Louis is being unfaithful to her. She regrets leaving her family for a snake in the grass. Walking down by the bayou, Roz and Mozelle stumbles upon Elzora (Diahann Carroll), a rival psychic of Mozelle’s. Curious Roz decides to have a reading that warns her of impending doom in her family. Unimpressed by Elzora, Mozelle asks for a reading. Elzora tells her that she is a “black widow” cursed with having the loves of her life dies in front of her very eyes.
Slowly but surely, the secrets that were long-buried deep come up in unexpected ways. The family lives turn upside down.
It is refreshing to see a black movie that has complex characters. They are fully realized. I especially enjoyed watching Debbi Morgan’s performance. She won nominated for a couple of awards for her performance and won the Indie Spirit Award. It was well deserved.
Judgment: A movie that has heart, but tends to veer into the melodramatic at times.
Posted on April 19, 2011, in 1997, Drama, Independent, Running Feature, The SIL Festival and tagged Brandford Marsalis, Debbi Morgan, Diahann Carroll, Ethel Ayler, Eve's Bayou, Jurnee Smollett, Kasi Lemmons, Lisa Nicole Carson, Lynn Whitfield, Meagan Good, New Orleans, Roger Guenveur Smith, Samuel L. Jackson, Vondie Curtis-Hall. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.