Small Axe (2020– )
22 user 39 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?


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User Reviews

Camera Rocks
15 January 2021 | by CineanalystSee all my reviews

"Lovers Rock," the second installment in Steve McQueen's "Small Axe" anthology of five movies, is a novel bit of filmmaking of a house party. But, that lens flare repeatedly occupying the center of the picture becomes a nuisance. It's especially unfortunate that it often resembles three-or-so dots in the middle of the screen, which when I was streaming it on my TV led me to momentarily think the video was buffering--that there was something wrong with my internet connection. Of course, it turned out that the video was fine; it was just the plot that wasn't moving. Kidding aside, if anything in this experimental short feature, there may be too much emphasis on subplots. Seriously.

The camera movements on the dance floor are terrific, suggesting through the spectator's identification with the gaze of the cinematographic apparatus that we're dancing to the reggae music with the characters and right in the midst of the action. Poorly and overdone though it is, I also understand the reasoning for the lens flares, as such flaws have become associated with realism even though it reminds us of the camera's presence at the same time that we're intended to identify with the camera's dancing. The camera, then, is both invisible and obtrusive, or at least meant to be, simultaneously. The lighting here is very good, too.

Despite the first "Small Axe" picture, "Mangrove," being over two hours of standard plotting and the relatively plotless "Lovers Rock" clocking under 70 minutes, the former feels less congested. Everything there fits the main thrust of the narrative. Here, instead, subplots of menacing white supremacists on street corners, the friend sneaking out of the party, the fight with the cousin, the would-be-rapist and the guy carrying a cross intermittently get in the way of an otherwise joyful and romantic ode to "all lovers and rockers." If not for such small flaws, I'd rate this higher, because it's very good at what it does otherwise. The grinding dance scene in particular is one of the best sex scenes I've seen in a while and adroitly analogizes dance as sex, as love, as joy.

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Release Date:

27 November 2020 (USA) See more »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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