'Zola' Keeps With the Spirit of the Viral Twitter Thread That Inspired It
Watching the crazy, intense and sensational 'Zola'
In 2015, a woman named Aziah “Zola” Wells wrote a gripping 148 tweet thread known as #TheStory that would become viral, detailing a stripping road trip to Florida involving murder, pimping and other general madness.
The film ‘Zola’ is very much in the spirit of that tweet thread - crazy, funny, intense and sensational. It follows two friends Zola (Taylour Paige with the best side eye) and Stefani (Riley Keough) as they go on a road trip to Tampa, Florida. The goal is to strip at a club where Stefani says they can make a huge amount of money! A lot of outrageousness and chaos happens on the road trip, which also includes Stefani’s boyfriend Derek (Nicholas Braun) and “roommate” Abegunde “X” Olawale (Colman Domingo).
Paige and Keough are both enigmatic as the leads, with Keough completely transformed as the vulnerable and cultural appropriating Stefani. But it’s Paige who is the hero of this story, and a lot of the dialogue is word for word taken from Wells’ original tweet thread. Like Ryan Reynolds who has been typecast as Ryan Reynolds, I feel like Nicholas Braun has been also type cast as Nicholas Braun, or super-lanky, awkward dude who’s out of his depth and in for the ride.
The film opens with the first tweet - “You wanna hear a story about how me and this bitch here fell out? It's kinda long, but it's full of suspense.” The film is full of suspense, sex and violence and it’s also a portrait into the lives of sex workers that looks at notions of agency and exploitation. It is a gritty, ambitious film with some stellar performances - one that needs to be seen (or read!) to be believed.
4 stars out of five.
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