Poetic Justice

Starring: Janet Jackson, Tupac Shakur Directed by: John Singleton

I was enticed to watch the 1993 movie Poetic Justice after hearing the theme song "Again" on an 80s/90s R&B playlist Ryan put together.  I had been meaning to watch it for a while, but it was never a must-see.

The concept behind the movie seems pretty good – young Justice (Janet Jackson) who was devastated by the shooting death of her first boyfriend starts writing poetry to help her cope.  And she also learns to love and trust again after she meets Lucky (Tupac Shakur).

Overall, this movie was a real disappointment.  Having read a book of Tupac's poetry, The Rose That Grew From Concrete, I was hoping the movie would actually have Justice writing something deep and meaningful.  However, her scenes of 'poetry' are just her rambling in a notebook.

Also, Justice and Lucky pretty much hate each other through most of the movie.

Pretty much all of the characters except Justice and Lucky are very one-dimensional and seemed stereotypical.  Based only on this movie, it seems that everybody  in South Central LA has a short temper and a limited vocabulary of profanity, everybody knows somebody that's been killed by gang related violence, and there are a lot of people with alcohol or drug problems.

You actually get more information about Lucky than Justice – he's trying to be a standup guy – good job with the post office, trying to shield his daughter from her mama's messed up life and ensure she is raised with structure and love rather than chaos, he likes to hang out with his rapper cousin in Oakland. As Tupac is good looking and a good actor, this wasn't a problem.

There is minimal insight into Justice's life and background – outside the fact that she is a hairdresser, inexplicably owns a house, and is mourning her boyfriend – until midway through the movie she reveals a bunch of family history during a screaming match with her best friend.

I'm not saying the movie is all bad.  There is actually a really good scene where Justice, Lucky, Justice's friend Iesha (Regina King) and Lucky's co-worker Chicago (Joe Torry) crash a family reunion on their way to Oakland.  It is one of the least forced scenes in the movie and also includes an interesting cameo by a real poet.

If you:

  • Like drama, drama and more drama
  • Like the nostalgia of movies from the '90s
  • Don't need to have a coherent storyline to enjoy a movie
  • Are fascinated by movies where Janet Jackson REALLY shows a resemblance to her brother Micheal

Put it in the queue.

If you:

  • Are irritated by characters that chew gum like it's their job throughout the entire movie
  • Are offended by lots of profanity
  • Like character development and an interesting plot

Don't put it in the queue.

Written by Jennifer Venson