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“Love Jones” Is the Perfect Fall Film

Published October 1, 2020

Darius Lovehall (Larenz Tate) and Nina Mosley (Nia Long), Love Jones, dir. by Theodore Witcher, 1997.

“Into” is a series dedicated to objects, artworks, garments, exhibitions, and the things that we are into—and there really isn’t a lot more to it than that. This week: Editorial Assistant Juliana Ukiomogbe reminisces about the quintessential fall movie, 1997’s Love Jones.

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October is here, which means that fall is in full swing. While we’d usually be prepping for all the outdoor festivities that come along with the season, most of us are tasked with creating our own autumn vibe from home. As the weather changes and the year (finally) winds to a close, I’ve been thinking about what movie reminds me of fall. The 1997 cult classic Love Jones hits all the marks. Written and directed by Theodore Witcher (who has sadly never directed another film since), the film follows a photographer named Nina Moseley (Nia Long) and writer Darius Lovehall (Larenz Tate) as they fall in love amidst Chicago’s jazz and poetry scene. The film is able to transcend the standard romantic comedy formula by crafting a specific world where Darius and Nina’s love can blossom. With foggy weather, John Coltrane, and cardigans abound, this movie always puts me in a sentimental mood.

This time of year is all about atmosphere and aesthetic, which this film has a lot of. Every sequence is so cool and sleek, each scene serves as its own picturesque snapshot. The fashion, from trench coats and turtlenecks to oversized hoodies and cashmere, makes you want to dress for the season—even if it’s just for your own at-home pleasure. The film is also a ’90s time capsule, chock-full of natural face, classic brown lipstick, and heavy lip liner. The movie isn’t only visually warm and charming, but also sonically. Generally speaking, movie soundtracks don’t hit the way they used to. The music here serves as the heartbeat of the film, with Darius and Nina bonding over The Isley Brothers and Al Green at a local record store as their relationship begins to grow. “In A Sentimental Mood” by Duke Ellington and John Coltrane serves as one of the catalysts for their budding love. Can you get any more romantic and tender than jazz?

Witcher is masterful in his ability to create a very specific world for these characters to thrive in. Every detail, from the clothes to the music, makes Love Jones a romantic experience. Of course Darius and Nina meet at a jazz club, because where else? Watching Love Jones is necessary when I want to escape reality and ease into tenderness. Early in the film, Darius makes the claim: “Romance is about the possibility of things,” he says. “When people that have been together for a long time say the romance is gone, what they’re really saying is that they’ve exhausted the possibility.” Love Jones makes you want to go out and fall in love, even if it’s just with the possibility.