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Blind Faith (1998)

R | | Drama | 20 January 1998 (USA)
In 1957, black lawyer John Williams has to defend his nephew Charlie, who is accused of strangling a white boy to death. John doesn't believe Charlie did it, and although Charlie confesses,... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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John Williams
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Charles Williams
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Eddie Williams
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Carol Williams
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Charles Williams Jr.
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Anna Huggins
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Timothy
Nancy Herard ...
Rose
Jim Jones ...
Philip
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Frank
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Frank Minor
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Judge Aker
Birdie M. Hale ...
Mrs. Barry
...
Captain McCully
Jeff Jones ...
Stanley Harris
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Storyline

In 1957, black lawyer John Williams has to defend his nephew Charlie, who is accused of strangling a white boy to death. John doesn't believe Charlie did it, and although Charlie confesses, John wants to find out the real truth. Written by Anonymous

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What would you be willing to sacrifice to keep your family secrets? See more »

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Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language
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Release Date:

20 January 1998 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A becsület kötelez  »

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1.85 : 1
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User Reviews

True family values and what a family values
29 April 2000 | by See all my reviews

Yes, this was a film I had always wanted to see, but failed to do so initially. When I finally got my chance to do so, I finally realized all that I had missed.

This story, actually set in 1957 New York, revolved around the Williamses, a middle-class African-American family.

The eldest brother, Charles (Charles S. Dutton), was an NYPD Officer with aspirations to become New York's first-ever Negro police sergeant. The middle brother, John (Courtney B. Vance), was an attorney from whose vantage point this story is narrated. The youngest brother, Eddie (Kadeem Hardison), is a jazz musician.

However, that is where the similarities halt. Charles, married with three children, is a by-the-book, strict father whose actions and interest in his job and overt willingness to belong to the white establishment, at even the cost of his own family, take on the squalid decorum of a white man's black man, overshadowing whatever actual compassion he may have. John is the aptly-placed middle brother who is loyal to Charles, yet somewhat torn by his devotion to Charles and the variances of his younger brother, Eddie, the free-thinking, spirited, open-minded individual who easily sees Charles for who and all he really is in ways John cannot--and actually, at first, refuses to. It is Eddie, coincidentally, who turns the tide for the family's--and the film's--complexion with his revelating disclosure about all that has happened and why.

When Charles, Jr. (Garland Whitt, who was also featured alongside Denzel Washington in "The Hurricane") is arrested for a murder he was actually glad to have committed (we learn the reason why as the story unfolds), Charles Sr. becomes more committed to going along with the NYPD conspiracy behind the truth of the murder rather than being more of a father and standing up for his son as a real father would--and should. When no other attorney will take the case of defending Charles Jr., John decides to risk his practice by defending his nephew. Invariably, it is Charles Sr.'s wife, Carol (Lonette McKee, in one of the finest, strongest and courageous performances ever given by an African-American woman on celluloid EVER!!!!) who takes the stronger stand and rises to the occasion to stand up to her selfish, broodish husband to be, as the mother, THE parent to her son that Charles Sr., as a father, is not!!!!!!

I can realize why this movie did not get the attention it rightfully deserved: it is a true slice of African-American life that black folks are too afraid to acknowledge about themselves on screen. To me, this movie spoke more loudly of true black family values than Soul Food did (and did well). Even today, Black America is too ashamed, frightened and embarrassed to openly realize and see sexual and gender minorities (of which I am one, as a transgendered black woman) as part of their reality, at times conveniently hiding out behind the guise of religion as an excuse of not having to deal with many issues (besides this one) openly. Although set in the late 1950s, this story is very real and still so very true today even in this new millennium we are now living in. This movie, concurrently, shows us through each of the three brothers, what we at times choose how we would like to be (Dutton), what we would wish to be (Vance) and how great we as people really are and can truly be (Hardison). As for Ms. McKee, she embodies the rock-solid strength of true, unconditional love--a real mother in every sense of the word.

I would recommend this film to any one who wants to take a hard, cold yet true concurrent look of how a family should and should not be in a way that embodies yet discourages family dysfunction at the same time. Also of importance is how much conformity and not taking a proper stand when a true stand is needed can cost even our loved ones.


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