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HOW STELLA GOT HER GROOVE BACK

SYNOPSIS:
Stella (Angela Bassett) is a 40 year old single mother and high flying stock broker, her schedule full but her love life empty. She loves her 14 year old son, of course, but that’s not the same thing, as her sisters tell her. After getting fired in a downsizing after a takeover, her best friend, Delilah (Whoopie Goldberg), persuades her to take a break on a Jamaican holiday – together. The trim, taut and terrific Angela quickly attracts the attention of Winston Shakespeare (Taye Diggs) a healthy looking young male – young being the operative word. He’s half her age, and she is both flattered and confused, suspicious and tempted. Delilah, of course, eggs her on no end, until Angela allows herself to be seduced by the smart and sexy young man, despite a disastrous meeting with his parents. But life goes on after Jamaica, although not for all . . . and Winston insists he be taken seriously, although rifts develop as they hit the conflict stage of the relationship….

"Plotholes aside, Stella is an entertaining and engaging film, albeit almost entirely due to Bassett’s sparkling and multi-faceted character portrayal, oozing with self doubt, self confidence, weakness and strength - and plain human vulnerability. (The script also deserves credit, as does the direction.) Bassett has a clear claim on major stardom, confirming the prowess she showcased playing Tina Turner in What’s Love Got To Do With It. Goldberg is, as ever, effective - but basically reprising her screen characters with minor modifications. Newcomer Diggs is terrific with Bassett, always pitching his tone perfectly for the character. And Angela’s sisters are a ball of energy and fun. This is not the first feature from mainstream Hollywood in which the principal characters are all black, but this is never signposted (or advertised), which is worthy of mention only because it may be a good sign of greater ethnic flexibility (and social reflection) to come. It’s fun, it’s escapist and it also has some genuine insights into the questions around relationships between older women and younger men – a change from recent films that work on things the other way round."
Andrew L. Urban

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 1
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

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HOW STELLA GOT HER GROOVE BACK (M15+)
(US)

CAST: Angela Bassett, Taye Diggs, Whoopie Goldberg, Regina King, Suzzane Douglas, Michael J. Pagan, Sicily, Richard Lawson

PRODUCER: Deborah Schindler

DIRECTOR: Kevin Rodney Sullivan

SCRIPT: Terry McMillan, Ron Bass

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Jeffrey Jur

EDITOR: George Bowers

MUSIC: Michel Colombier

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Chester Kaczenski

RUNNING TIME: 124 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: 20th Century Fox

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: November 26, 1998

VIDEO DISTRIBUTOR: Fox

VIDEO RELEASE: May 12, 1999







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