Director: Theodore Witcher
Stars: Larenz Tate, Nia Long, Isaiah Washington, Lisa Nicole Carson, Bill Bellamy, Leonard Roberts, Khalil Kain
Love Jones is the story of Darius (Larenz Tate) and Nina (Nia Long). Darius, a poet, is awestruck when he comes across the aspiring photographer, but their meeting arrives at the wrong time—Nina is recovering from a recent breakup. Add the fact that Darius has never maintained a long-term relationship to the equation, and you have the predicament that so many 20-somethings find themselves in: wanting each other, but without wanting to fully commit. People often get what they want, yet don't know what to do once they get it. Darius and Nina are confused about the next move, but it's so obvious that they love each other that you want to see them make it.
In his directorial debut, Theodore Witcher creates a smart love story about smart characters. Darius, Nina, and their friends have intelligent conversations, but just because they're knowledgeable doesn't mean they have all of the answers. The film really works because of Tate and Long's magnetic chemistry; if nobody bought their relationship, the entire film would've failed.
Remember that Love Jones was released just six years after Boyz N The Hood (which Long appeared in) and four years after Menace ll Society (which Tate starred in); the range they displayed provided a nice contrast to past roles, letting viewers see them in an entirely different light. That's growth.