How Stella Got Her Groove Back

Overview

Terry McMillan and Ron Bass wrote this screenplay based on McMillan's semi-autobiographical best-selling novel over 2,000,000 copies in print before the release of this film. San Francisco stockbroker Stella Angela Bassett, a 40-year-old divorcee, has a nice Marin County home and an 11-year-old son, Quincy Michael J. Pagan. With Quincy off to see his dad, Stella and her best friend Delilah Whoopi Goldberg vacation in Jamaica, where she meets sexy, good-looking Winston Shakespeare Taye Diggs. He's the man of her ...
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Overview

Terry McMillan and Ron Bass wrote this screenplay based on McMillan's semi-autobiographical best-selling novel over 2,000,000 copies in print before the release of this film. San Francisco stockbroker Stella Angela Bassett, a 40-year-old divorcee, has a nice Marin County home and an 11-year-old son, Quincy Michael J. Pagan. With Quincy off to see his dad, Stella and her best friend Delilah Whoopi Goldberg vacation in Jamaica, where she meets sexy, good-looking Winston Shakespeare Taye Diggs. He's the man of her dreams in every way except one -- he's half her age. Even so, a romance develops. Grammy Award-winning songwriters Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis supervised the film's music and produced the R&B-slanted soundtrack album. Shown at the 1998 Urbanworld Film Festival NY.
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Ed Hulse
Having made an impressive showing in the movie adaptation of one Terry McMillan novel Waiting to Exhale, Angela Bassett eagerly accepted -- and did a bang-up job with -- the title role in this glossy 1998 interpretation of another McMillan story. Stella is a gorgeous 40-year-old San Francisco stockbroker who successfully runs with the bulls of the financial world but finds herself confronted with a bear market in romance. While on vacation in Jamaica with her friend Delilah played by a scene-stealing Whoopi Goldberg, Stella meets and falls for handsome med-school hopeful named Winston Taye Diggs. Only problem: He's 20 years old -- just half her age. Director Kevin Rodney Sullivan milks this dilemma for all it's worth, playing up the predictable disapproval of Stella's family and friends. A melodramatic subplot involving Delilah's critical illness and hospitalization temporarily diverts attention from the love affair, but Sullivan steers the film back on course and brings it to a dramatically satisfying conclusion. How Stella Got Her Groove Back tells McMillan's story of a May-September romance with élan, but even more important, it features the beautiful Bassett in a dazzling tour de force. The film's production is documented in a featurette included on the DVD.
All Movie Guide
With its swaying palms and breezy ocean vistas, as vicariously relaxing as anything on film, How Stella Got Her Groove Back starts like a study of rejuvenation, a restorative experience for both the title character and the viewer. But like the book on which it was based, Kevin Rodney Sullivan's film loses some impact when it retreats home to the United States and becomes a melodrama, tackling such diverse topics as disease, family, and May-December romance. To be sure, Angela Bassett and Whoopi Goldberg bring oodles of sisterly chemistry and screen presence, and Taye Diggs, in his film debut, looks exquisitely at ease as a studly charmer. Watching these elements intermingle against a gorgeous backdrop would have been excuse enough for a film. Perhaps Terry McMillan's book should have stopped there, because once Stella relocates her groove, the plot slides into the rather ordinary story of unlikely lovers trying to overcome their differences. The movie has the strange feeling of reaching its catharsis and then pursuing its plot threads past the point where the credits should have rolled. Minus a half-hour from its 124 minutes, How Stella Got Her Groove Back would have been more effective escapism, while still able to touch on some of the deeper concerns of these women. With its additional agendas, it's still worthwhile -- it's just not quite as groovy.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 3/6/2001
  • UPC: 086162000775
  • Original Release: 1998
  • Rating:

  • Source: 20th Century Fox
  • Region Code: 1
  • Aspect Ratio: Theatre Wide-Screen (1.85.1)
  • Presentation: Wide Screen
  • Sound: Dolby Surround, Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • Language: English
  • Time: 2:04:00
  • Format: DVD

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Angela Bassett Stella
Taye Diggs Winston Shakespeare
Regina King Vanessa
Whoopi Goldberg Delilah
Suzanne Douglas Angela
Michael J. Pagan Quincy
Sicily Chantel
Richard Lawson Jack
Barry "Shabaka" Henley Buddy
Lee Weaver Nate
Glynn Turman Dr. Shakespeare
Phyllis Stickney Mrs. Shakespeare
Lou Myers Uncle Ollie
James Pickens Jr. Walter
Carl Lumbly Judge Boyle
Technical Credits
Kevin Rodney Sullivan Director
Ronald Bass Executive Producer, Screenwriter
George Bowers Editor
Ruth E. Carter Costumes/Costume Designer
Michel Colombier Score Composer
Marc Dabe Art Director
Steve Danton Asst. Director
Judi Giovanni Set Decoration/Design
Jeffrey Jur Cinematographer
Chester Kaczenski Production Designer
Francine Maisler Casting
Terry McMillan Executive Producer, Screenwriter
Christopher S. Nushawg Set Decoration/Design
Jennifer Ogden Executive Producer
Eric Orbom Set Decoration/Design
Deborah Schindler Producer
Susumu Tokunow Sound/Sound Designer
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