Small Axe (2020– )
23 user 41 critic

Lovers Rock 

0:30 | Trailer
A single evening at a house party in 1980s West London sets the scene, developing intertwined relationships against a background of violence, romance and music.


Steve McQueen


Courttia Newland (screenplay by), Steve McQueen (screenplay by) | 1 more credit »
8 nominations. See more awards »





Episode cast overview:
Amarah-Jae St. Aubyn ... Martha
Micheal Ward ... Franklyn
Shaniqua Okwok ... Patty
Kedar Williams-Stirling ... Clifton
Ellis George ... Cynthia
Francis Lovehall ... Reggie
Daniel Francis-Swaby ... Bammy
Alexander James-Blake Alexander James-Blake ... Parker B
Kadeem Ramsay ... Samson
Romario Simpson ... Lizard
Jermaine Freeman Jermaine Freeman ... Skinner
Marcus Fraser ... Jabba
Saffron Coomber ... Grace
Frankie Fox ... Eddie Marks
Dennis Bovell Dennis Bovell ... Milton


A single evening at a house party in 1980s West London sets the scene, developing intertwined relationships against a background of violence, romance and music.

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cannes 2020 | See All (1) »




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Did You Know?


The film's defining scene - when the party's electricity cuts out during the middle of Janet Kay's 1979 hit song "Silly Games" and the party-goers start singing it a cappella - came from Steve McQueen's desire to have a moment of pure Black joy on screen. See more »


Samson: With the sounds of Mercury Sound! The best in the town! Put a smile on everybody's faces, no frowns! No!
See more »


Your Love Is Amazing
Written and Performed by Dennis Brown
See more »

User Reviews

Silly games made fresh
1 January 2021 | by Quinoa1984See all my reviews

What do you do when you can dance and sing and play like no one is watching? What happens when you can just be with everyone in a room gproving and grinding and feeling free to music? Or for that matter being free? (I know Josh Larsen of Filmspotting already made this observation, but hey, I can make it as well).

What I love so much about Steve McQueen as a communicator as much as an artist is that, while he can tell a good story, he is most concerned with expressing through his camera and the people he casts and how long he keeps on a shot a feeling, and many times it's a sustained mood and expression of pathos. You have the tension of a very long conversation like the 16 minute shot in Hunger, or when we see Michael Fassbender is in agonizing sexual pain on his face after having sex for hours on end, or keeping on that torturous display of Solomon hanging and barely being kept alive while people go on with their business. But rarely have we seen McQueen show total joy and peace, yet it's something he shows he knows how to present and then some in Lover's Rock as everyone sways to the steady love anthem "Silly Games" and then breaks out into singing it for what feels like ten minutes (maybe shorter, could've gone on longer).

I can't be the only one who broke out in tears during the scene, no? Maybe it's seeing this following such a wretched many months to a year where (having common sense) being able to have this kind of intense connective experience is impossible. Or it is simply that McQueen understands and knows how to depict that wave of rapture that can take over people, and this goes beyond race though it is absolutely a filmmaker representing a people who rarely get to see this on screen, and that it can be overwhelming for the senses. I often find as I get older I tear up more at seeing pure, unadulterated kindness, and this is like that: everyone, for this night and with these DJs and this groove, can be OK and in love with one another and have that special emotion one gets when singing along to a song. I'll even get more high and mighty: It's... A cinematic moment that is good for the soul.

This doesn't mean Lovers Rock isn't, or isn't just, about seeing people dance in a room, though McQueen does eschew traditional A-B-C storytelling to give us two young women who go to this house party and things just... Happen, good and bad. There is politics to this as well, sexual politics, how a man will mistreat a woman and how women stand up for their fellow woman or a man might for a woman and that intense, eons-deep reaction where two men in the thick of it butt heads (there isn't violence like fists thrown, but it comes close to that, an emotional violence simmering). And at one point when an altercation by a front door seems about to happen, and a cop car rolls by and so one man practically throws the other into the house to tell him to shut the F up, that feeling McQueen has been showing us is revealed to be kind of tenuous; there is freedom, but it could all crumble with one dumb or even accidental moment.

Lovers Rock doesn't reveal its greatness all at once, and at first you may wonder what is the point of showing us a long, Cannabis-fueled party... But by "Silly Games" it's clear this is a mini master's class in how cinema can be raw, sensual, vibrant and cool, or how it should be that from time to time.

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Official Sites:

BBC Programmes





Release Date:

27 November 2020 (USA) See more »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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