Reviews & Ratings for
"American Playhouse" Fires in the Mirror (1993)

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6 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Brilliant Deconstruction of a Horrific Time

Author: Chris Lehmann ( from New York City
3 April 2002

Anna Deavere Smith does an incredible job of presenting the many views and voices of the Crown Heights tragedy. This movie is a must view (if you can find it) for anyone who seriously thinks about race relations and society. There's no easy answer that she presents, and all sides are presented as complex, flawed and intensely... human.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

A hate crime euphemistically called "disputes between communities"

Author: andrewsullar from United States
17 February 2011

This film depicts African American hate crimes in a way that weighs each side equally. I wonder why the black author doesn't take a similar approach to white on black hate crimes? I have never seen anyone, black or white, depict hate crimes on African Americans in a way that gives a voice to the perpetrators and the community that supports them. My last review made the same point and it was deleted. I'm sorry, but this movie is offensive and no one would feel comfortable with it if the roles were reversed. The author also neglects to mention that Black on Jewish violent crime in Crown Heights is rampant but the other way is almost non-existent. That may be uncomfortable, but it is very relevant.In America in the 1990's it was okay for a black mob to terrorize Jews for 3 days because one Jewish guy committed a car accident in a neighborhood where black crime is rampant, yet no one can say it without being called racist. YEt when the KKK did similar things to blacks when a black guy committed rape and/or murder that was simply a hate crime? I can only shake my head.

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2 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

One person ego trip

Author: hoshinionegai from United States
1 November 2006

I saw this movie in class and I must say that I didn't like it at all. Sure, it's a nice idea, but in the end it just seemed like an actress desperately trying to showcase her talent... or lack there of. Maybe this is supposed to only be seen on stage, but on the screen it's obnoxious. She exaggerates the mannerisms of the people she depicts. Frankly, if I was the one depicted I would be insulted. She exaggerates accents, gestures, and it's full of bad make up jobs. Also, I highly doubt that every single one of these people she talked to ate with their mouth open. It was hard to sit and watch the entire thing, the most interesting parts were the photographs and the stock footage. Which just indicates to me, that this would have been a much better film if it had been done in a more traditional documentary format (with the actual interviewed people talking).

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