Selah and the Spades


Selah and the Spades

Critics Consensus

No consensus yet.



Total Count: 10

Audience Score

Ratings: Not yet available
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Movie Info

At The Haldwell School, a boarding school outside of Philadelphia, the student body is run by five factions. The factions provide everything Haldwell students need to deal with the challenges of adolescence while hiding their bacchanalia and debauchery behind school-sponsored blood drives and community service days.

The most powerful faction is The Spades, and Selah is its 17 year old hammer. Aided by her best friend Maxxie, Selah and The Spades have long kept the system of factions in order. Driven by the desire for power as an end to itself, Selah is convinced that it is better to be feared than loved. In order to maintain control, she is willing to do whatever it takes to push her power past its limits.

At 15, Paloma is a sophomore and new to The Haldwell School. Though most comfortable in the background, she is desperate to belong somewhere and to believe in something larger than herself. She is quickly intoxicated by Selah and Maxxie's high speed, colorful world. Gradually Selah begins to see Paloma as her natural successor - someone she can manipulate in the present - who can eventually lead the Spades after her graduation.

With the end of the school year approaching, Selah is confronted with the reality of a future without control. Maxxie's attention shifts away from The Spades, causing noticeable ruptures in the system of order that Selah has cultivated over the years. And as Paloma journeys deeper into The Spades, she begins to own her new responsibilities and lead in a different direction from her predecessor. The student begins to outshine the master, and Selah becomes determined to reassert her power, no matter the cost.


Critic Reviews for Selah and the Spades

All Critics (10) | Top Critics (3) | Fresh (10)

  • Selah and the Spades shows a great deal of promise for writer/director Tayarisha Poe, who demands your attention with style and story in her directorial debut.

    Feb 8, 2019 | Full Review…
  • The film has more style than plot, but that style is terrific.

    Feb 1, 2019 | Rating: B- | Full Review…

    Amy Nicholson

    Top Critic
  • Quietly confident in its unconventional yet clear point of view, Selah and the Spades signals a bright future for a promising young filmmaker.

    Jan 29, 2019 | Full Review…
  • Poe might represent the first sign [...] of a new vanguard with the potential to radically shift the way we portray and think about young people on screen.

    Jun 24, 2019 | Full Review…
  • Selah and The Spades powerfully gives voice to a form of unlikeable black girlhood, allowing Selah and her peers to be human, even if that means being shitty.

    Feb 19, 2019 | Full Review…
  • The actors have a great dynamic, and the scenes where Selah interacts with and has strong camaraderie with Maxxie and Paloma really make the film shine.

    Feb 6, 2019 | Rating: 7/10 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Selah and the Spades

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