Eve's Bayou

Tucson Weekly

DIRECTED BY: Kasi Lemmons

REVIEWED: 11-17-97

A movie that begins with the line, "The summer I killed my father, I was 10 years old," Eve's Bayou is a sluggishly paced family drama that, at the least, always gives you something to look forward to. But this isn't primarily a murder story, and Eve's not really a murderess. Instead, the confused, curious title character is the starting point for several threads relating to women's feelings about men. When Eve (played by the thoroughly watchable Jurnee Smollett) isn't competing against big sis for the affections of her charismatic father (Samuel L. Jackson), she's watching her mother's emotions wither away due to daddy's small-town philandering. Then there's daddy's psychic sister, a three-time widow who's convinced she's cursed. Add a pinch of witchcraft here, a dollop of female bonding there, lace in some strong performances by an all-black cast, serve it up with lovely images from a mossy Louisiana backwater--and oh yeah, don't forget that murder--and you've got a Southern gothic that'd probably be affecting if the direction were sharper. Unfortunately, it isn't, and Eve's Bayou gets stuck in a murky quagmire somewhere between compelling and boring.


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