3 Best Movies to Watch by Gabrielle Union

Staff & contributors

Based on the real-life experience of director Elegance Bratton, who was himself a Black gay marine soldier during the “don’t ask, don’t tell” period in the US, The Inspection documents the behind-the-scenes cruelty that goes on in training the armed forces. Specifically, it inspects how institutions like the marines are hardwired to promote a certain kind of masculinity and how people like Bratton, perennially in the margins, respond, react, and fight back. 

It’s moving and artful but also lighthearted and humorous, finding light even in the darkest corners. It’s self-contradictory that way, but the film is all the better and nuanced for it. Gabriel Union’s performance is also worth noting here; in a career-defining turn, she transforms into a character at once so hateful and loving, you’ll be hard-pressed not to give her your full attention onscreen.

Genre: Drama

Actor: Aaron Dominguez, Andrew Kai, Aubrey Joseph, Becky Boxer, Bokeem Woodbine, Daniel Williamson, Eman Esfandi, Gabrielle Union, Jered Meeks, Jeremy Pope, McCaul Lombardi, Nicholas Logan, Raúl Castillo, Steve Mokate, Tyler Merritt, Wynn Reichert

Director: Elegance Bratton

Rating: R

The title says it all: this is a story of love and basketball, one where the two intertwine and excitedly inform one another. Two childhood friends with a passion for ball develop deep feelings for one another. They have ambitions to go pro, but as Monica discovers how uneven the playing field really is for female athletes, and as Quincy grapples with his own needs and career, they reconsider their relationship both to each other and to the game they so love. 

Love & Basketball is a beautiful and sensitive movie that breaks stereotypes about Black love, which exists here as soft and nuanced as any other expertly drawn pairings in movies, and about Black women; Monica gets angry, but also vulnerable, hardworking, and loving. The sports component of the movie is just as finely detailed, with the energy of the matches bouncing off the screen walls. Clearly ahead of its time, Love & Basketball gets at the core of the game without losing sight of its talented players. 

 

Genre: Action, Comedy, Drama, Romance

Actor: Al Foster, Alfre Woodard, Boris Kodjoe, Chick Hearn, Chris Warren, Christine Dunford, Debbi Morgan, Dennis Haysbert, Erika Ringor, Gabrielle Union, Glenndon Chatman, Harry Lennix, Kyla Pratt, Monica Calhoun, Naykia Harris, Omar Epps, Regina Hall, Sanaa Lathan, Tyra Banks

Director: Gina Prince-Bythewood

Rating: PG-13

The Perfect Find follows Jenna (Gabrielle Union), a fashion editor trying to make a comeback after a public breakup and a high-profile firing. She lands a job at a new fashion magazine, but this is complicated when she falls for her charming and much younger coworker, Eric (Keith Powers), who just so happens to be the son of her boss. Admittedly, the plot is as cliche as can be, with a few shenanigans, quirky best friends, and an ex or two popping up in the third act. But it's also easy to fall for, especially with Union as the charismatic lead. The jokes about her character and Eric's age gap land well most times, and many parts of the film are beautiful enough, most notably: the talent, the color grading, and the eye-catching New York landscape. 

Genre: Comedy, Romance

Actor: Aisha Hinds, D.B. Woodside, Gabrielle Union, Gina Torres, Godfrey, Janet Hubert, Keith Powers, La La Anthony, Leigh Davenport, Numa Perrier, Remy Ma, Shayna McHayle, Sterling 'Steelo' Brim, Ts Madison, Winnie Harlow, Yrsa Daley-Ward

Director: Numa Perrier

Rating: R