40 must-watch movies to consider yourself a film buff

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Eve’s Bayou (1997)

Eve’s Bayou was a recent discovery for me and I’m sure it’ll be one many have heard of but few have actually watched. The debut feature from director Kasi Lemmons, Eve’s Bayou takes place in 1962 Louisiana and follows Eve (Jurnee Smollett), the middle child in her family. Desperate for the affections of her father, Louis (Samuel L. Jackson), Eve feels rebuffed at every turn by her older sister, Cecily (Megan Goode). But when Cecily confesses something to Eve, lies, the truth, and the things we tell children end up having dire consequences on the whole family.

Lemmons’ features are absolutely beautiful, introducing history through the questioning of authenticity and adding a dose of magical realism to things. It’s a film steeped in the myths and cultures of the African-American community that grew up in the South, specifically in the early ’60s, and the characters all have rich backstories, particularly Debi Morgan’s character, Mozelle.

Smollett is fantastic as Eve, the girl with a series of burdens placed on her shoulders, who believes she knows the facts but is hobbled by her youth. In the end, the film leaves you questioning the nature of fate and the individual. Do we all control our own stories, or are some things just destined to happen no matter what we try to do to stop them? Watch Eve’s Bayou, and be mired in existential questions.

Where to Watch It: Stream it now via Starz. You can also rent it on Google Play, PlayStation, YouTube, Apple, and Vudu.