Review: Zola

Zola (Taylour Paige) is a part time waitress/part time dancer in Michigan who meets a woman named Stefani (Riley Keough) at work and is soon talked into a cross country trip to Florida under the pretense of dancing. Of course, there's more.

I feel like anyone with a Twitter account has probably run across the infamous set of 2015 tweets that this film is based off of. I saw them too, around the time the rights were purchased to make a film. I didn't go back to re-read the story before watching this, but I did notice some difference.

Zola, much like the tweets that came before it, is a mess. A fun, entertaining, and occasionally highly uncomfortable a mess. I was surprised how heavily this film leaned into its Twitter cred so to speak. I expected a "based on a true story" title card at the beginning and for us to move on, but it's woven into the entire story.

I didn't realize before watching that the last feature director Janicza Bravo did was one I absolutely hated from a few years ago - Lemon. She fares much better here, but I think she struggles to find a coherency with this script, which was also an issue I had with Lemon. But I don't think that's all on her (She's certainly not a bad director, she helmed the best episode of Mrs. America). She had to completely re-work this script from someone else, and this story is batshit crazy. I think this needed a bit more time. It's very engaging but it feels like a rough draft.

The actors on the other hand are wonderful. Paige makes for a great no-nonsense Zola and she's an incredible dancer. The film occasionally interjects her thoughts in voiceovers, and I wish they did that more often because I enjoyed Paige so much. Keogh goes full trash as Stefani and Coleman Domingo and Nicholas Braun are excellent supporting characters.

Zola might not be the most polished film out there, but it's crazy enough to look past the flaws.

Recommended: Yes

Grade: B-

Memorable Quote: "Do it." - Baybe (Sophie Hall)


  1. I don’t recall those tweets and when I hear about this, I am so glad I don’t do twitter. To be honest I thought this was somehow a modern take on Emile Zola...hahahaaa.

    1. omg lol. Twitter can be well....something. lol I love it for movie fans at least.

  2. oh wow, i think there is such interesting filmmaking and performances here.

    lol i feel like i'm the only person who totally missed the original tweets

    1. The performances were definitely the high point for me, which is why it pushed it into B territory lol.

      I didn't see them right as they were happening, but I definitely heard about them later.

  3. Replies
    1. Glad I'm not the only one, but happy this was an improvement at least.

  4. I want to see this. It's not playing at my theaters nearby but I'll wait for it on TV.

    I'm so fucking excited for Annette as Leos Carax + Adam Driver + Marion Cotillard + Sparks=$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

    1. So am I! Even with the batshit reviews right now lol

  5. Ok, this will probably make me sound REALLY lame, but I've skipped this one mainly because I could barely bear the two characters in the trailers. I couldn't imagine doing it for 90 minutes or more. But the reviews have me thinking I better give it a go.

    1. I think it's worth a go. Zola isn't insufferable at all, thought Stefani certainly is, but they're easy to watch.


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