By Kirsten Coachman

“Because when you’re 17, you’ve got to grab onto that control wherever you can and hold tight for dear life because they always try to take it from you, don’t they? They always try to break you down when you’re 17.”

Hitting Amazon Prime this weekend is Selah and the Spades, the stylish feature film debut from writer/director Tayarisha Poe. The film, which premiered at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival, primarily takes place within the walls of a Pennsylvania boarding school, Haldwell, where the student body’s social scene is divided into five factions. At the head of the class sit the Spades, who satisfy their peers’ vices, ranging from a variety of illicit drugs and alcohol, led by Selah Summers (Lovie Simone) with her level-headed best friend Maxxie (Emmy winner Jharrel Jerome) by her side. Just as tensions between the factions begin to boil over, the 17-year-old senior decides to take a new sophomore student and budding photographer, Paloma (Celeste O’Connor), under her wing as a potential heir to her throne. 

Read my full review at ArtUNews.com.

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