In 1940s Chicago, a young black man takes a job as a chauffeur to a white family, which takes a turn for the worse when he accidentally kills the teenage daughter of the couple and then tries to cover it up.
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Bigger Thomas, an African American who lives in an impoverished neighborhood, is employed by a prosperous white family who live in the suburbs of a major city. The money Bigger makes at his new job will be used to supplement his mother's income. As a chauffeur, he is directed by the father of the family to take Mary, the daughter, to the university. Instead, Mary decides to pick up her Socialist boyfriend, Jan, and to spend the time drinking and partying. Jan and Mary portray a young liberal couple who venture into a black neighborhood with Bigger for the sole purpose of being entertained at Ernie's, a black nightclub. On the way home, Mary becomes inebriated and Bigger must get her to her bedroom without being detected. Mary's mother, who is blind, enters the room and Bigger panics at the thought of being caught with a white woman. He accidentally kills Mary by placing a pillow over her head to keep her quiet. Still frightened, Bigger disposes of the body in the furnace, possibly ... Written by
Broncine G. Carter
This was a good film. It had some flaws, but was well worth a viewing. It takes on many issues which most current films gloss over or ignore entirely.
This is the second film of "Native Son," a Richard Wright book about a young black man who gets caught up in some tragic events in 1940's Chicago. Bigger Thomas, the young protagonist, goes to work for a wealthy white family after some prodding from his mother, played by Oprah Winfrey. He is drawn into the aforementioned events by the family's young and slightly wild daughter, played by Elizabeth McGovern.
There are several good scenes where the tension and a sense of claustrophobia is palpable. A scene near the end in a police station, in which all the main characters convene around Bigger, is effective but problematic. This scene is overwrought and unrealistic - there is no way all those people would be in the same room at once.
"Native Son" delves into the issues of racism, poverty and integration. It doesn't have easy answers for the audience, but rather leaves the questions out there for the viewer to ponder.
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