'High-school drama with a high-stakes game': Selah and the Spades review

She would surely love this experimental, spiky drama, which is dominated by a 17-year- old, Selah (newcomer Lovie Simone), who complains that girls her age are always being told how to “wear” their “skin”. What’s so smart about first-time director-writer Tayarisha Poe (who began work on this Amazon Original project five years ago, when she was 25), is that she acknowledges the greediness of the world’s gaze, while finding a way to flip it. Gallery: Rotten Tomatoes' top 100 movies of all time (Photos) All ranking and scores correct as of March 27, 2020. Turns out Haldwell, her elite east-coast boarding school, is chocka with drama queens, exam cheats and hedonists. Selah, who rules a clique called The Spades, is central to the community because she sells party drugs (her lackeys beat up pupils who pay late; innocent-looking pre-teens circulate theproduct). In fact, she has more in common with oh-so-human schemers like Election’s Tracy Flick, or Lady Macbeth’s Katherine, which is what makes this such a great showcase for Simone, who deserves to be every bit as famous as Reese Witherspoon and Florence Pugh. It’s a crucial detail that Selah (like all the Spades) is African-American.As in the recent films Waves and Luce, this one concentrates on a black teen who’s been reared to be perfect and is stifled by that pressure.