She’s Gotta Have It (1986)

“I am not a one-man woman.”

A woman (Tracy Camilla Johns) with three lovers (Spike Lee, Tommy Redmond Hicks, and John Canada Terrell) resists being faithful to any one of them.


Spike Lee’s treatment of his female protagonist in his debut film, about an independent-minded woman (Johns) who finds cumulative sexual satisfaction through her triumvirate of disparate lovers — comedic Mars (Lee), narcissistic Greer (Terrell), and sincere Jamie (Hicks) — is refreshingly respectful. He portrays Nola (Johns) as nothing but honest in her desire for sex with many men, and while none of her lovers are happy with her decision, we admire Nola for being true to herself. While the acting in She’s Gotta Have It is clearly student-film quality, we remain invested in the story given the uniqueness of these characters. She’s Gotta Have It remains a worthy predecessor to Lee’s breakthrough movie of three years later (Do the Right Thing, 1989), and is worth a look by film fanatics.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • A humorous and insightful look at female sexuality
  • Creative camera work

Must See?
No, though it’s recommended for those curious to see early evidence of Lee’s talents as a director. Listed in the addendum of Peary’s book as a film with historical importance and as a Personal Recommendation.

(Listed in 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die)


Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.