Dancehall Queen

  • 1996
  • 1 HR 37 MIN
  • NR
  • Drama, Musical

This rough-around-the-edges Cinderella story from Jamaica, set in the same Kingston ghetto that spawned the groundbreaking THE HARDER THEY COME, features some electrifying scenes of the dirtiest dancing this side of the Baby Doll Lounge. Street vendor Marcia (Audrey Reid) is no stranger to hard times: Thrown out on the streets as a pregnant 15-year-old,...read more

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Reviewed by Maitland McDonagh
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This rough-around-the-edges Cinderella story from Jamaica, set in the same Kingston ghetto that spawned the groundbreaking THE HARDER THEY COME, features some electrifying scenes of the dirtiest dancing this side of the Baby Doll Lounge. Street vendor Marcia

(Audrey Reid) is no stranger to hard times: Thrown out on the streets as a pregnant 15-year-old, she's trying to protect younger brother Junior and give her two daughters the schooling that might get them out of the slums, while struggling to defend her business from thugs. Only 30, she's

retreated into a sexless limbo of endless work, shapeless clothes and one-of-the-guys socializing. All that changes after the vicious Priest (Paul Campbell) tries to move in on her sales territory, and "friend of the family" Larry (Carl Davis) begins extorting sexual favors from 15-year-old Tanya

(Cherine Anderson) in return for the financial help he's given Marcia. Desperate to drown her sorrows, Marcia stops into a local night spot, the African Star, and discovers the vibrant, brazenly sexual world of the dance halls. It's ruled by outrageously provocative women, and Marcia decides to

become one of them. The two best reasons to see this well-intentioned but somewhat ragged story of revenge and self-actualization are the pulsating reggae score and the outrageous dance hall scenes, which feature full-bodied beauties in barely-there costumes, carrying on something fierce: If they

shook their moneymakers any harder, Jamaica would have to be declared an earthquake emergency zone.

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