‘Eve’s Bayou’ Is 19 Years Old Today


Released on this day, November 7, 1997, “Eve’s Bayou” has become a contemporary classic in Black cinema.

Directed by Kasi Lemmons and set in the early 1960s in Louisiana, the film is primarily a family drama. It also has the distinction of being about a specific place that wasn’t absorbed into the Civil Rights and Black Power movements that were picking up steam across the country around that time.

With all of their secrets and betrayals, the affluent Batiste family is far from perfect; although in an early scene, the mother of the philandering Dr. Louis Batiste (played by Samuel L. Jackson) says that all of the women in the community act like he’s the Second Coming. And it’s true.

This 109-minute film, which was nominated for seven Image Awards, features some of the most tastefully done risqué scenes that I’ve come across in contemporary African-American cinema.

Though the film has a marquee cast that includes Jackson, Debbi Morgan and Lynn Whitfield — and let’s not forget the very young and adorable Jurnee Smollett-Bell and Meagan Good — no one rests on their laurels. Diahann Carroll, only appearing in a few scenes, gives a standout performance portraying a witch (a very different role from her typical ones as bejeweled and fashion-forward leading ladies).

Although it wasn’t a box office hit at the time of its theatrical release (grossing around $14.8 million, or about $22 million in today’s money), the film went on to become a black cinema classic, routinely appearing on top lists of the best in modern black cinema. It’s also been the subject of numerous critical essays and analyses.

“Eve’s Bayou” is available on various home video platforms.

What are your favorite film(s) featuring any of the cast members from “Eve’s Bayou”?

Here’s a trailer for the film:


  1. I loved this film, especially how beautifully the women were presented. Sam as a ladies man was perfect. He character wasn’t “fine” in the traditional sense but his confidence made up for that, making him far more deadly than if he was merely attractive. The nuances were delicious. The cinematography sexy and lush. I wish there were more films like this. Well-written and original. Not a remake or retooling of another movie. There are still a million stories to be told. Just like this one.

  2. This definitely was a very unique and well written film. Jurnee really stands out as a young star. I don’t remember the movie scene by scene but some of the memorable scenes for me were between Eve and her aunt, and her aunt and the man who loves her despite her inability to have children. Even though we knew what was going to happen I did want things to end differently.

  3. Love the script, the all star cast and especially the emergence of the versatile and wonderful actress Lisa Nicole Carson, this was another jewel added to her crown.

  4. I’m not black but I love this movie and have seen it several times. Every single cast member was outstanding. I love Samuel L Jackson and even now whenever I see him I think of him as Dr. Batiste. Of course it was a black film but I have always believed the story line transcends race. The vulnerabilities and imperfections of the characters exist in all families, regardless of race, color or creed. But the superb acting by the all black cast added so much richness to this outstanding movie.

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