Sometimes You Have to Break the Rules to Free Your Heart.
"This is escapism, pure and simple. And few know the power of such purity better than Terry McMillan. David Ehrenstein, Dallas Observer
|Get ready to groove with this heartwarming comedy full of love and friendship, starring sexy Angela Bassett and comic superstar and Academy Award winner Whoopi Goldberg. Through good times and bad, Stella (Bassett) and Delilah (Goldberg) have always had each other. Now, Stella's so busy building a life that she's forgotten to really live. But Delilah is about to change all that. What starts as a quick trip to Jamaica, ends as an exhilarating voyage of self discovery as Stella learns to open her heart and find love -- even if it's with a man 20 years her junior. A captivating comedy that's sure to entertain, How Stella Got Her Groove Back glows with warmth, humor and tenderness.|
"...another great success for star Angela Bassett, who transforms the film into an infomercial for her considerable abilities. Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times
"Sexy and sassy. Angela and Whoopi give A+ performances! Pat Collins, WWOR-TV
"This movie delivers. Angela is a beauty of blazing talents, Whoopi is wonderful. Rolling Stone
"...a fun movie - full of laughs and touching moments. Goldberg delivers a hilarious performance... Venise Wagner, San Francisco Examiner
While vacationing in Jamaica, successful San Francisco stock broker Stella meets and falls for a dashing, and much younger, islander, Winston Shakespeare. Their romance forces her to reevaluate her concepts of love and sex, as well as work and motherhood. Based on the best-selling novel by Terry McMillan.
Cast & Crew
Image Award (1999)
||Angela Bassett, Winner, Outstanding Lead Actress in a Motion Picture
||How Stella Got Her Groove Back, Winner, Outstanding Motion Picture
||Michael J. Pagan, Nominee, Outstanding Youth Actor/Actress
||Whoopi Goldberg, Winner, Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture
"...A charmer....Bassett is a beauty of blazing talents...Goldberg is a scene-stealing wonder..."
"...Angela Bassett as Stella is sensuous, sinewy....And she gives off heat and humidity with newcomer Taye Diggs..."
"...This female-empowerment manual should have WAITING TO EXHALE fans breathing easily again..."
New York Times
"...Ms. Basset's Stella is the best thing in the movie...[She is] proud, combative and fiery....Mr. Diggs imbues Winston with an easy grace and dignity..."
"...The emotionally-charged characters and soul-searching scenarios are intriguing..."
Los Angeles Times
"...A glossy, good-humored romantic fantasy....It's also another great success for star Angela Bassett..."
ReelViews 8 of 10
You don't have to be an astute student of social trends to recognize that, when it comes to romance and age, American culture is characterized by a severe double standard. While it's perfectly acceptable for an older man to cavort with a much younger woman, if the genders are reversed, it comes close to being a scandal. That's why, on screen, Humphrey Bogart can be romantically linked with Ingrid Bergman (Casablanca), Harrison Ford can pair up with Julia Ormond (Sabrina) or Anne Heche (Six Days, Seven Nights), and Michael Douglas can be married to Gwyneth Paltrow (A Perfect Murder)...When a movie has its middle-aged male lead fall in love with a female co- star two decades his junior, it's so commonplace that it isn't interesting, and the age difference may not be mentioned. However, when the woman has the advantage of age, there are consequences. This is not just a motion picture convention; it's a reality of life. And, in How Stella Got Her Groove Back, a surprisingly low-key romantic melodrama adapted by Ron Bass and Terry McMillan from McMillan's novel, the issues that arise from such a May/September male/female pairing are sensitively and intelligently explored...Like the title, the film is a little too long. However, except for a few slow spots, it makes for an enjoyable two hours. Given the subject matter, it's not surprising that the marketing for How Stella Got Her Groove Back is aimed at the black female audience, but this movie can be enjoyed by members of both genders of any race. It isn't the kind of "chick flick" that will have men looking at their watches every five minutes. And perhaps those who see this film will become a fraction more open-minded about relationships where the partners' age difference bucks the cultural norm. As Stella shows, there are times when the vapid cuteness of a young nymph can't hold a candle to the practiced sensuality of a more mature woman.
- James Berardinelli
Chicago Sun-Times 7 of 10
``How Stella Got Her Groove Back'' tries its best to turn a paperback romance into a relationship worth making a movie about, but fails. At the end of the movie we're prepared to concede that Stella may indeed have her groove back, but at a considerable price, and maybe not for long. If a romantic couple feels wrong to the audience, no plot gymnastics can convince us...The movie stars Angela Bassett as Stella, a divorced mom and high-powered San Francisco trader who, as the movie opens, is promising a client a guaranteed 65 percent return on some Russian bonds. Her personal life is lonely, and her sisters advise her to find a man. I'm thinking--if those returns are real, the man will find you...Angela Bassett is an actress with aggressive intelligence, and when she plays a capable, smart woman, she can be fascinating. See her in ``Malcolm X,'' ``Passion Fish,'' ``What's Love Got to Do With It'' and ``Strange Days.'' The problem with ``Stella'' is that she has been given a woman who the screenplay says is smart, but whose intelligence doesn't come into play; if it did, Stella's relationship with Winston would be either briefer, or much more complex. Instead, it's been smoothed down into manufactured suspense about whether these two nice people will find true love...That's where I began. If a couple feels right to an audience, then we cheer for their romance and allow ourselves to care--if only for the length of a silly movie. In ``The Parent Trap,'' a silly movie if ever there was one, there's genuine chemistry between Dennis Quaid and Natasha Richardson, and so in a dumb way we're cheered by their happiness. In ``How Stella Got Her Groove Back,'' I never felt Stella and Winston were on the same wavelength, that they could share their lives, that it would be a good idea for them to try. Oh, I believed Winston was blinded by her. But I couldn't believe in Stella's feelings. Even at the end, as they embrace, I was giving them three weeks, tops.
- Roger Ebert