Eve's Bayou

Memphis Flyer

DIRECTED BY: Kasi Lemmons

REVIEWED: 11-17-97

Eve's Bayou is the respectable first feature by writer/director Kasi Lemmons. It's set in a small swampy town in south Louisiana and narrated by the 10-year-old Eve (Jurnee Smollett), who tells us in the first few minutes that this is the summer that she killed her father.

It begins with a party at the home of Eve's parents, Roz (Lynn Whitfield) and Louis (Samuel L. Jackson). Sullen about the attention her mother pays to her little brother and father to her older sister, Eve takes refuge in an old carriage house, where she later witnesses her father carrying on with another woman. Eve's sister Cisely (Meagan Good) explains the incident away, but neither of the girls can ignore the late nights her father keeps or the whisperings among her mother and Aunt Mozelle (Debbi Morgan). When the pain caused by Louis' philandering gets too much to bear, Eve consults Elzora (Diahann Carroll), a white-faced voodoo practitioner, who takes the girl's $20 to make her wish that her father were dead come true.

There's a certain lushness to Eve's Bayou, created by Lemmons' able storytelling that is carried out well by the cast. Lemmons makes what Eve sees seem huge and heavy with meaning. And her imagination has a lot to work with. Her father, a doctor who has an irresistible charm and a knack for disarming volatile situations by changing the subject, is a hero. But he is flawed in an unforgivable way. Her mother is beautiful but remote to her because of her fears. Her Aunt Mozelle can see the future of others, yet can never predict that any man who marries her inevitably dies.

What Eve's Bayou captures is the power a parent's sins carry. It's the force that can destroy a child's innocence.

--Susan Ellis

Full Length Reviews
Eve's Bayou
Eve's Bayou
Eve's Bayou
Eve's Bayou

Capsule Reviews
Eve's Bayou
Eve's Bayou

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