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Queen & Slim (2019) - Plot Summary Poster

(2019)

Plot

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Summaries

  • A couple's first date takes an unexpected turn when a police officer pulls them over.

  • Slim and Queen's first date takes an unexpected turn when a policeman pulls them over for a minor traffic violation. When the situation escalates, Slim takes the officer's gun and shoots him in self-defence. Now labelled cop killers in the media, Slim and Queen feel that they have no choice but to go on the run and evade the law. When a video of the incident goes viral, the unwitting outlaws soon become a symbol of trauma, terror, grief and pain for people all across the country


Spoilers

The synopsis below may give away important plot points.

Synopsis

  • The film opens in a diner in Cleveland, Ohio. A lawyer, "Queen" (Jodie Turner-Smith), has dinner with her Tinder date, "Slim" (Daniel Kaluuya) only because she didn't feel like being alone that night. Slim is laid back while Queen is more cynical. She tells him that her client was sentenced to death, which she doesn't consider fair. Slim asks her why she picked him as a date, and Queen says it's because she liked his picture, which she found "sad."

    Slim drives Queen home, trying to extend the evening. He swerves while driving, which attracts the attention of a racist policeman named Officer Reed (Sturgill Simpson). He pulls the two over and makes Slim step out of the car. Reed starts searching the car, which prompts Queen to ask why. Reed grows more and more agitated until Slim asks him to hurry up because it's cold. Reed draws his gun on Slim as he tries to arrest him. Queen gets out and tries to record the incident on her phone, and Reed shoots at her, grazing her leg. Slim tackles Reed and is almost beaten until Slim grabs the gun and shoots Reed dead. Both in a state of shock, Queen tells Slim they need to flee immediately.

    The two go on the run and ditch their phones. They stop to ditch their car and flag down a pickup truck. The driver, Edgar (Benito Martinez), offers to help the two when Queen says they need to get gas. On the way, Slim notices Edgar is a sheriff. At the gas station, Edgar gets a notice on his radio about Reed's death and an identification on the suspects. He knows they are sitting in his car. As Queen and Slim realize this, they force him at gunpoint to go with them. They drive back to the car and lock Edgar in the trunk despite his insistence that he will help them. Queen doesn't trust him since he knows he will alert the other cops.

    Queen and Slim take Edgar's truck and stop to get food. They get a young boy to buy their food with money from Edgar's glove compartment. After they eat, the boy comes back with a video from Reed's dash-cam that has now gone viral, showing the two of them clearly in the act. Slim starts to drive away but accidentally hits the boy's father. He just hurt his knee so the two drive him and the boy to the hospital. The father praises Queen and Slim for what they have done, thinking of it as a revenge killing since Reed was reported to have shot and killed an unarmed black man years earlier. The father wishes them luck after they are dropped off.

    In the morning, the two stop to get gas for the truck. Slim enters with his gun to make the clerk pay for their gas. He agrees on the condition that Slim let him hold the gun. He makes Slim nervous when he points the gun at him but then returns it and pays for the gas.

    Queen contacts her estranged Uncle Earl (Bokeem Woodbine) for help. He is a pimp who lives with a few of his girls. Although reluctant, Queen gets Earl to help them since she claims he owes her. Earl tells them they need to shave their heads in order to avoid detection. At night before trying to get some rest, Slim asks Queen why Earl owes her. She says she helped him avoid jail for killing someone: her mother. Moments later, the police show up at Earl's door asking questions. When the officer asks to search the place, Earl orders him to come back with a warrant. After the police leave, Earl tells the two that they need to leave now. They take some clothes from his house and burn the truck before taking one of his cars. Earl hugs Queen goodbye.

    Slim drives while Queen gets some sleep. They later stop when Slim asks Queen if she would have gone out with him again. She says no at first until she changes her mind and asks what the second date would have been. As they are parked by a nightclub, Slim takes Queen inside to dance, risking being detected. Inside, the bartender gives them free drinks and tells Slim that they are safe there, letting him know that she recognizes him. Despite this, Queen and Slim dance through the night, reflecting on how they would like to be remembered when they are gone.

    As they continue their drive in the morning, the couple's car breaks down. They take it to a garage where they have to pay extra to get it back that same day. The mechanic doesn't support Reed's killing the way others in the area do since he thinks it gives cops more of an incentive to shoot black folks. The mechanic's son, Junior (Jahi Di'Allo Winston), is a fan of them and takes them on a walk around the area. Junior expresses his hatred for cops and claims he is okay with dying that day. In the mechanic's office, Slim takes the chance to call his father. They have one last conversation and tell each other they love one another. It's shown that there were detectives listening in on the call, and the lead detective arrests Slim's father for helping him. After getting their car back, Slim asks Junior to take a picture of him and Queen.

    Before making their way to their next destination, Queen decides to take a detour and stop at the cemetery to visit her mother's grave. He explains to Slim that she and her mother were close until Queen grew older. One day, she and Earl argued, and Earl pushed Queen's mother down the stairs and cracked her head. Since Queen had just passed the bar, she was eager to take on her first case, not realizing it would be Earl, but she let him go since she knew it was an accident. Slim holds Queen close as she gets emotional, leading to them kissing. They park in an isolated area to make love. Meanwhile, a riot ensues as police continue to hunt the couple. Junior is among the protesters and is approached by a black SWAT officer who calmly tells him to go. Junior pulls a gun on the officer and impulsively pulls the trigger, killing him. Junior is later shot and killed as well.

    Queen and Slim go to the home of a friendly white couple called the Shepherds (Flea and Chloe Sevigny), who help protect certain people. They shelter the couple and give them dinner. Queen says grace, despite earlier telling Slim she's an atheist, and expresses thanks for the time she has had with him, no matter how it ends. Things are ruined when another police SWAT team shows up outside, and the Shepherds have Queen and Slim hide in a crawlspace under the bed in their room. The two stay there until the morning when they think they are safe. They get out through the window, but Queen injures her shoulder on the way down. They go to take a spare car from the Shepherds' garage, just as a black officer comes by to inspect the scene after he hears Queen's crying when Slim pops her shoulder back into place. The officer opens the garage door but lets Queen and Slim go, evading the police blockade on the street.

    The couple drive down an open street where they take turns sticking themselves out the window for fun. They reach a man who leads them to a friend with a plane that can get them away. He drives them to the tarmac, but as the two walk toward the plane, a whole squad of cops corner them. Queen and Slim have no choice but to turn around. Queen asks Slim if she can be his legacy, and he responds that she already is. An overzealous and racist cop then shoots Queen in the chest for no reason, instantly killing her. Slim holds her and carries her toward the cops, leading them to gun him down as well.

    News of the tragic end to the manhunt hits everywhere. The couple's names are revealed to be Angela Johnson and Ernest Hines, and the cops spin the narrative to make it seem like they were armed and dangerous. Earl, the Shepherds, Ernest's father, and everyone else they encountered are devastated by the news. Hundreds of civilians attend their funerals and view them as martyrs and heroes. The community even puts up a memorial image of the two of them based on the picture that Junior took.

See also

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