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She Hate Me is a 2004 LGBT independent comedy-drama film directed by Spike Lee and starring Anthony Mackie, Kerry Washington, and Ellen Barkin.

The controversial film, as with many of Lee's, touches on comedy, drama, and politics. Unlike many prior works, Spike Lee does not have an acting credit in this film.

The film was shot entirely on location in New York Citymarker, including each of the city's five boroughs. It was nominated for various awards (see below), but did not win. She Hate Me was released in July 2004 and grossed almost half a million dollars at the box office in limited release.

The movie is rated R by the MPAA for strong graphic sexuality/nudity, language, and a scene of violence.


John Henry 'Jack' Armstrong (Anthony Mackie) is a financially successful and upwardly mobile executive at a biotechnology firm who, following the suicide of a colleague, Dr. Herman Schiller, is falsely accused of securities fraud by his superior, Leland Powell (Woody Harrelson). Armstrong's assets are frozen, and he finds himself unable to maintain his quality of life.

In order to make ends meet, he becomes a sperm donor, initially by acquiescing to the desires of his former fiancée, Fatima Goodrich (Kerry Washington), who had come out as a lesbian, to have a child. Although there is still unresolved bitterness and tension between them over Armstrong and Goodrich's prior relationship, she and her girlfriend, Alex Guerrero (Dania Ramirez), offer him a substantial sum of money to impregnate them both. This leads to Goodrich goading Armstrong into establishing a business in which groups of lesbians come over to his house and pay him $10,000 each to have sex with them in order to become pregnant.

One of the women who Armstrong impregnates is the daughter of a mafia boss, Don Angelo Bonasera (played by John Turturro). Armstrong's employers learn of his impregnation business, and they use it in their campaign to sully his image in order to deflect attention from their own criminal business activities. Conflict is also depicted in the turbulent relationship between Armstrong's mother and his dependent diabetic father (Jim Brown).

At the film's climax, Armstrong's situation is portrayed as a cause celebre, with protests being held in support of or against him, and the news media interviewing people on the street with respect to his sexual activities. Armstrong is called before a committee of the United States Senate investigating his alleged securities fraud, where both his services to lesbians and his relationship to the "Bonasera crime family" are raised.

Armstrong's situation is compared, both by cutaway scenes and by direct reference in dialogue, to the plight of Frank Wills, the security guard who discovered the break-in that led to the Watergate scandal, which brought down President Nixon. He eventually wins the case and is seen with nineteen of the children he helped his lesbian acquaintances make at the end.

By the end of the film, Armstrong and Goodrich have come to terms with their lingering feelings for one another, and with the mutual attraction they share for Guerrero. They then begin a three-way polyamorous relationship, and Armstrong apparently maintains a friendship with all of the eighteen women who became pregnant by him.


Actor Character
Anthony Mackie Jack Armstrong
Kerry Washington Fatima Goodrich
Ellen Barkin Margo Chadwick
Woody Harrelson Leland Powell
Monica Bellucci Simona Bonasera
Dania Ramirez Alejandra "Alex" Gurerro
Jim Brown Geronimo Armstrong
Lonette McKee Lottie Armsrong
Ossie Davis Judge Buchanan
Brian Dennehy Chairman Billy Church
John Turturro Don Angelo Bonasera

The Lesbians

Critical reaction

She Hate Me received a sharply negative reaction by film critics, with a score of just 20% on the site Rotten Tomatoes [212549]. "It's not only unfathomable and borderline offensive, it's never-ending, leaving its bewildered and battered audience in the dark for well over two hours," according to Detroit Free Press critic Terry Lawson. Even Roger Ebert, who gave the film three stars out of four, said the film "will get some terrible reviews. Scorched earth reviews. Its logic, style, presumption and sexual politics will be ridiculed. The Tomatometer will be down around 20" -- a spot-on prediction, as it turned out. "Many of the things you read in those reviews may be true from a conventional point of view. Most of the critics will be on safe ground. I will seem to be wrong. Seeming to be wrong about this movie is one of the most interesting things I've done recently. I've learned from it."

The film grossed a total of $1,522,377 in the box office.


Spike Lee came up with the title from watching XFL football. A player named Rod Smart gained some notoriety by nicknaming himself He Hate Me; the main character references Smart when explaining why he has decided to nickname his ex-fiancée "She Hate Me". John Henry "Jack"'s name alludes to the legend of John Henry, where the man worked hard against his opponent (the steel driving machine) and won, but soon after dies of heart failure. This symbolizes the Black man's plight against racism, classism and oppression by actively working to better himself and when he "achieves" this goal, he dies.

Actor Isiah Whitlock Jr. appears in the film as Agent Amos Flood with the same last name of a role he played in the Spike Lee film 25th Hour but the movies are not sequels and are completely different in style. This was the last film featuring Ossie Davis, as he died in February 2005. German Actor David Bennent re-appears after a long film career absence, and portrays the German scientist who 'jumps' to his end. Raul Midon sang the theme song for the movie, "Adam 'N' Eve 'N' Eve". In the film, Armstrong's brother disapproves of his impregnating lesbians and also uses the phrase "Adam 'N' Eve 'N' Eve.

Some real human births are seen with accompanying graphic nudity and related bodily fluids. A live human birth is also portrayed in another Spike Lee film, Mo' Better Blues.

Award nominations


  1. She Hate Me (2004) - Box office / business

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