Get your reviews and insights on everything to do with movies and TV, locally and internationally.

Series Review: Small Axe Episode 2 - Lovers Rock

Written by tha - bang from the blog Movies and Things with Thabang on 30 Nov 2020
Favourite this post

After Episode 1 of Small Axe, which was politically and historically charged, I went into Lovers Rock awaiting another politically charged agitprop but I got the opposite.

Instead I got a film about ordinary folks representing a moment in time, being carried by music and mood ... and it was lovely to watch.

Let's dig in...

Series creator Steve McQueen says Lovers Rock is inspired by his aunt's stories of "blues parties''.  It's about being a young lady having to sneak out to parties and come back home in time to wake up and go to church without the parents finding out.

Very relatable neh, we all have that one story.

What makes this special, which may not be everyone's cup of tea, is that Steve McQueen invests in the feeling and mood that is created by the music more than the dialogue.

40 to45 percent of the film is people singing along, people grinding on each other and folks being carried in a trance by the music.

Depending how you feel about the above paragraph, that will most definitely determine if you dig the film or not.

The story is there. Martha (Amarah-Jae St.Aubyn) goes off to a house party, which were called blues parties. They were common in the 50s to 70s within the Caribbean community.

Folks would empty out a house, cook a great meal, put up a great sound system and make folks pay to come in.

At the party she meets Franklyn (Michael Ward) who wears the coolest silk shirt ever, and you follow her and Michael's night intercut with a rapey dude in a red shirt (there always has to be one unfortunately) and the crowd of reggae and ska loving house partiers.

This is one of those films where it's not about the plot, the dialogue or the action... it about the "riddim" and the mood and effect it has on the guys in the house.

There are points were the line is totally blurred between observing actors dance out a scene with actors totally being in the moment.

Kudos to Steve McQueen and his team for letting those long takes run because if you ride it, you actually enjoy the trance that's on screen.

If you've ever been caught up in a trance either at church, club or dance hall... when the film hits those moments you really appreciate the commitment of the actors. They're able to recreate a moment in history for us the viewers to observe... uninterrupted... uninhibited... unashamed.

Yes, the film does touch on some of the themes of migrant life; white neighbours being a threat, the fear of coppers busting up the party but it's one episode where black folks are let to be and have an outlet and it is great to observe.

I do know it's not going to be everyone's cup of tea but it is great filmmaking and I'm glad we get to see it on the small screen.

It felt like: the black version of Nirvana's It Smells Like Teen Spirit music video. "Atmospheric" does not do justice to the film. 

Rating ****

* trash **you are on your own ***it tries ****Almost Perfect *****Instant Classic


Only TVSA members can reply to this thread. Click here to login or register.


New on TV today: Tuesday 19 January

Mzansi Magic helps orphans who were Abandoned as drama Swartwater returns to SABC2.

The Bachelorette SA: what long hair on men REALLY means

Impressions on the show's first bachelors.

Binnelanders Teasers - February 2021

Tensions rise in Harare - in particular, in one hotel room.

New on TV today: Monday 18 January

eExtra debuts the telenovela As Die Skoen Pas and Stephen King's The Stand starts on M-Net.

New on TV today: Sunday 17 January

SABC1 searches for The Next Big Thing and SABC3 discovers a Wild Metropolis.

New on TV today: Saturday 16 January

Discovery documents California wildfires in Cal Fire and comedy Grown-ish starts on

Scandal! Teasers - February 2021

Judgement day for Dintle! Also, some bed-breaking...

eExtra alert! Kuiertyd's new primetime schedule (from 18 January 2021)

NB: Deur Dik en Dun moves to 21h30.

The Candidate Teasers - February 2021

Finale alert! A suicide and a move abroad.

Confirmed! Isibaya cancelled in The Curse of the "I"s

The goss you need to know.


More activity at TVSA Central



Thabang Phetla loves movies,
he loves TV...
he loves his writing...
if you love movies and tv
you will definitely love
his writing on movies and TV.
signed by Thabang's Mom


You browser doesn't have Flash, Silverlight, Gears, BrowserPlus or HTML5 support.