I’m not just saying that because it’s been a year since movie theaters have been open and the smell of popcorn was sorely missed. The atmosphere feels like its stuck at 3 AM — the promise of something more and the unknown just behind your eyelids.
Zola tells the story of Aziah “Zola” King, whose chance encounter with Jessica (in the film renamed to Stefani) led to wild Florida journey full of twists and turns at every tweet.
Those familiar with the Twitter thread will recognize its style and personality embedded within the world of the film. It’s distinct — popping with color and Zola’s sharp dialogue. As an adaptation, Zola is a pioneering force. As the first movie of it’s kind, it’s source material gives way for boldness at every step. In a recent interview with Complex , Director Janizca Bravo explained that staying true to the source material was one of the most important factors while writing, “If you ever feel lost, go back to the source material. And what she did was imbue this world with a good deal of dignity. And so I wanted to do that.”
As a viewer, it’s such a pleasure to see all of the highlights from the thread jump to life in all of their 3D glory. The chemistry between the four leads in this film creates an awesome back and forth between each scene. Each actor is a force, but Colman Domingo (X) especially soars in this film. He picks apart at all of the nuances in his character — an explosive sparkle in his eye every time he speaks.
Still, something about the ending of Zola feels a little bit hurried. The film ends on the car ride to the airport back home. We don’t get the opportunity to see the conclusion or the aftermath of the events that happen in the film. This in a way breaks the tension that had been building throughout the last 15 minutes. In the original Twitter thread, our story instead ends when Zola gets a phone call from Jessica. She wants to get bailed out from a jail in Vegas, but Zola knows better. It helps cement the type of person Jessica is by placing her in a situation outside of the incident in Florida and wraps the story up with one last laugh. While the film chose not to follow this, it does provide a great parallel to the world of Twitter threads in general — sometimes they just end. No explanation required.
Zola fearlessly walks into territory not yet seen on screen, and does it with vivid flair. It’s a great introduction into a new world of adaptation and we can’t wait to see what’s next!