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Film / How Stella Got Her Groove Back

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How Stella Got Her Groove Back is a 1998 romance film, directed by Kevin Rodney Sullivan and an adaptation of Terry McMillan's bestselling novel by the same title. The original music score was composed by Michel Colombier.

The movie follows Stella (Angela Bassett), a divorced 40-year-old stockbroker who decided to forgo romance to focus on raising her son and advancing her career. She is persuaded by her best friend Delilah to take a well deserved, first-class vacation to Montego Bay, Jamaica. As she soaks in the beauty of the island, she encounters a strapping young islander, Winston Shakespeare (Taye Diggs, in his film debut), who is 20 years her junior. His pursuits for her turn into a hot and steamy romance that forces Stella to take personal inventory of her life and try to find a balance between her desire for love and companionship, and the responsibilities of mother and corporate executive.


The story is based on McMillan's own marriage to Jonathan Plummer, a Jamaican man half her age. However, McMillan filed for divorce in 2005 after Plummer came out as gay, implying that he only married her for American citizenship to escape his notoriously homophobic homeland. A sequel novel covering these events has not yet been published.

Tropes associated with this work:

  • Author Avatar: Stella is quite clearly based on Terry McMillan and her own marriage. Before the divorce, anyway.
  • "Awesome McCool" Name: Winston Shakespeare, though many Jamaicans have English names due to the nation's history.
  • The Film of the Book: It's based on the bestselling novel.
  • Likes Older Women: Winston pursues Stella with no regard to her age. Or maybe because of it.
  • May–December Romance: Stella is twice Winston's age.
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  • Parental Marriage Veto: Winston's mother is only a year older than Stella, and is not happy with the relationship.
  • Shower of Angst: Winston takes one after a fight with Stella. She joins him though and it becomes a Shower of Love.


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