Summer moviegoing is finally back, and films like Janicza Bravo’s Zola are already making a huge splash. Based on Aziah “Zola” King’s viral 2015 Twitter thread about a Florida road trip gone wrong, the new movie is truly a wild time from start to finish. In fact, Zola is the first movie based entirely off a series of tweets, and fans fittingly took to social media to sing its praises.
To recap: Zola follows its titular protagonist (Taylour Paige), a Detroit dancer and waitress who forms a fast, unexpected friendship with fellow dancer Stefani (Riley Keough). So when Stefani invites her on a weekend trip to Tampa to make plenty of extra cash at the local strip clubs just one day after they meet, Zola agrees. However, what is supposed to be a relatively normal weekend with Stefani’s hapless boyfriend Derrek (Nicholas Braun) and “roommate” X (Colman Domingo) takes a dark turn when she finds out that Stefani and X are asking for way more than she initially bargained for, and very real danger could be lurking around the corner. It’s a raucous yet hilarious Florida odyssey designed to make you laugh, cringe, and jump in quick succession.
Although it’s set in 2015, Zola already feels like a period piece exploring how social media and the ways in which we use it to tell stories and connect with people have changed rapidly in the past six years. Twitter users seemed particularly in tune with the movie, with many gushing about it online.
Although Twitter and social media in general look super different in 2021 compared to 2015, it makes sense why Zola managed to capture so many people’s imaginations today. Recreating the experience of getting swept up in a stranger’s story (even though the internet places pretty much the entire world at your fingertips) is a tall task, and Bravo handled the iconic Twitter thread with the finesse it deserved. So buckle up and enjoy the ride!
Zola is in theaters now.