Blu-Ray Review: Eve’s Bayou

Some people seem to have the ideal life. The big house, the great job, the beautiful partner and children. Popular, with a large number of glamorous friends and associates. Everyone wants to know and be seen with them. Courts their favour. However, looks can be deceiving and when you peek behind the curtain there’s often something rotten underneath. There’s usually more to a picture-perfect family than meets the eye. This is the case in Eve’s Bayou.

“The summer I killed my father, I was ten years old…”. Set in the 1960s, Eve Batiste (Jurnee Smollett) lives with her affluent family in a prosperous black community in Louisiana. Her father Louis (Samuel L. Jackson) is a renowned doctor who claims lineage back to the French aristocrat who founded their town, Eve’s Bayou. Her life is almost idyllic, spending her days with her younger brother (Jake Smollett) and older sister (Meagan Good), until she begins to understand the full extent of his infidelity to their mother (Lynn Whitfield).

Eve’s Bayou is an immersive and intelligent family drama, emmeshed in a southern-Gothic haze. There’s something in the pacing of Kasi Lemmons’s film which makes it almost enchanting, despite the serious subject matter. The cast all impress but it’s Debbi Morgan’s mesmerising performance as Eve’s fortune-telling aunt which steals the show. Eve’s Bayou is a rich and rewarding tale of trust and betrayal, set within a tight framework.


  • New 4K digital restoration of the director’s cut, supervised by director Kasi Lemmons and cinematographer Amy Vincent, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack
  • Original 108-minute theatrical-release version
  • Audio commentary on the director’s cut featuring Lemmons, Vincent, producer Caldecot Chubb, and editor Terilyn A. Shropshire
  • Dr. Hugo (1996), a short film Lemmons made as a proof of concept for Eve’s Bayou, in a new 4K digital transfer
  • New interview with Lemmons
  • Cast reunion footage
  • Interview with composer Terence Blanchard
  • New program showcasing black-and-white Polaroids that Vincent took during production
  • Cast and crew photographs by William Eggleston
  • Trailer
  • English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
  • PLUS: An essay by film scholar Kara Keeling

Eve’s Bayou is released on Blu-ray as part of the Criterion Collection on 31 October.

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