Selah and the Spades Image

Selah and the Spades is an exciting, fresh take on social class maneuvering, with very old undercurrents of thematic structure.

In the bubble universe of tony Pennsylvania Haldwell boarding school, the shadow social governance of the school is comprised of five factions. The most powerful faction, the Spades, is led by seventeen-year-old Selah Summers (Lovie Simone), who is a consummate mob boss. She rules relentlessly by elegantly balancing between inspiring affection and fear. Tony Soprano would be proud.

“…the shadow social governance of the school is comprised of five factions. The most powerful faction, the Spades…”

The Spades’ status derives from being the campus purveyors of illegal substances. None of the other factions can offer anything as compelling. The drug and booze trade cements Selah’s power. 

Periodically the factions gather at a sit-down council away from school and work out differences and make decisions. Parents and faculty understand there is a hierarchy and machinations they do not have access to, despite trying to crack the code, they are unable to pierce that veil. Signs around the school proclaim that factions are gangs, and gangs are against school policy, but the factions persist, as constant as gravity.

When tensions between the factions escalate and with graduation fast approaching, Selah takes on a hand-picked successor in sophomore Paloma (Celeste O’Connor). Initially, Paloma is besotted with Selah but quickly learns that Selah has flaws and weaknesses. When Paloma proves to be easily her equal, becomes too good too fast, Selah resists handing over the crown. This is all the power she has ever had.

Selah and the Spades (2019)

Directed and Written: Tayarisha Poe

Starring: Lovie Simone, Celeste O'Connor, Rae Bell, Krish Bhuva, Benjamin Breault, Ana Mulvoy Ten, Jesse Williams, Nekhebet Kum Juch, Francesca Noel, etc.

Movie score: 9/10

Selah and the Spades Image

"…a new classic..."

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