Down in the Delta (1998) Poster

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8/10
Great movie despite low budget!
Pat-5425 January 1999
Despite the low budget, this is a very good movie. The performances are excellent and I recommend everyone to see it. I was in tears by the end of the film. My congratulations to everyone connected with this production.
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10/10
a touching poignant movie
queennbm19 March 2000
Although ignored at the box-office, this movie was beautiful. A must see by all black women. It was a movie that chronicled a woman's life that is similar to so many today. It shows how family is the foundation of happy lives. This movie was very moving for me. Not to mention the wonderful absence of profanity, sex and violence.
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10/10
Loved it, Loved it, Loved it
debfj26 September 1999
Maya Angelou is BRILLIANT!! This was an excellent family movie. The story was interesting. And, told in what I consider to be a typical Maya Angelou fashion -- extremely interesting and poetic -- with many underlying messages.

I love how the story led up to Nathan. How the symbolism of the candelabra strengthened the family. This showed how Nathan -- the candelabrum -- indirectly and unsuspectingly filled the role that Nathan -- the man -- was not allowed to do. It was almost as though Jesse -- Nathan's son -- knew instinctively that this candelabrum would play an important role in his family for generations to come.

The actors did an excellent job -- particularly Alfre Woodard and Al Freeman, Jr. I love that everyone was a star -- yet no one was a star!

I highly resented that you couldn't find Down in the Delta in the movies anywhere. When it comes to black films, it seems the film industry would rather show negative black images and nonsensical movies for black audiences. I was very disappointed at the lack of availability of this very positive movie. I've only been to one movie since; and have no immediate desire to attend any others. Although I have 2 free passes in my mirror -- sent to me by one of the major theatres to pacify me when I complained about the lack of availability of this movie -- I don't want free tickets (that's why they're still in my mirror). I want freedom of choice -- of being able to see positive images of black people. Chances are you couldn't find "Down in the Delta" in the movies. I've purchased the DVD. I intend to purchase several more -- as well as the VHS -- to give to family members as gifts. I highly recommend this film!!
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positive and uplifting
luke-15926 December 2000
"Down in the Delta" is one of the better movies I have viewed. I find it difficult to believe it has not received more notice and distribution among the general population, but most certainly among African American audiences.

This movie brought home to me, as a white person, the destructiveness and family division inherent in slavery better than anything I have ever seen or read before. It showed a terrible dark part of slavery and the awful effect it had on families. The simple, yet very powerful, story of Nathan poignantly illustrated the loss of family and loved ones that was so much a part of slavery.

This is a movie about family that transcends race or color. All people can relate to the idea of how important family is from this movie.

I was able to view this movie with my wife and children and enjoy it without having to "cringe" because of sex, violence, or language. This shows that movies can be made that entertain and educate without being filled with gratuitous titillations.

Thank you for producing a wonderful movie that I will always remember. A movie about family and for family.
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7/10
Uplifting in the Delta
jawz432 January 1999
Al Freeman Jr. is one of the greatest actors of our time. This movie proved it.In fact everyone from this fine gentleman and little Kulani were all in fine form. I also enjoyed the fact that the young man in the story came from the inner city and his grandmother helped raise him so he was polite and caring. The role of Alfre found herself because of the love of her family not a man. The only problem with the movie was the presence of Nathan (sloppy symbolism) and the heavy-handed ending. And why was Anne-Marie Johnson so angry (very contrived). Maya needed some help in the editing room too! (Fades and black-outs were too long.) The movie had many messages about family that were dear to my heart.
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7/10
A different kind of rehab.
George Parker25 March 2001
"Down in the Delta" is a sanitized, journeyman film about a black Chicago mother of two who is sent to visit family in the Mississippi delta region with the hope that family ties, values, and environment can help her rehabilitate herself. Although an obvious "feel good" fabrication, "Down..." has a sufficient depth and charm to make it a thoroughly enjoyable watch with some good lessons for all.
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A dysfunctional family's return to family values.
TxMike7 September 1999
This movie begins in a Chicago ghetto, where Loretta is frankly doing a miserable job as a person and as a mother of two. As a last resort they drop in on her uncle in Mississippi for the summer, and his restaurant called "Just Chicken". From that point the real journey begins, accompanied by a few false starts, but accomplishing a wonderful transformation of not only Loretta's immediate family, but also the others they touch. It *is* a feel-good movie, but one that works well without becoming overly sappy. It's a good story, well-acted and well-directed, and will be enjoyed by anyone who shares traditional family values.
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Fine Acting and Story
claude-182 April 1999
A warm and life affirming story. Alfre Woodard gives another memorable, emotionally compelling performance in a story that engages from frame one. Al Freeman's fabulously inspired and understated performance as Uncle Earl is a lesson in how to fully inhabit a character without chewing the scenery. His is a most convincing and moving performance that should not be missed.

Mary Alice has become one of the great African American screen matriarchs now, possessing a vulnerable serenity in this role which underscores our hopes for the rebirth of the urban progeny at the core of this film.

Maya Angelou got up to directorial speed fairly quickly in this debut although some blocking and editing from early in the project (in opening scenes especially) are rough. She doesn't show a professional sense of timing in many of her edits and scene endings, but the heart she brings to her material more than compensates. And there are instances of excellent intercharacter cutting in scenes where it counts. It's fair to say that there's not a wasted scene anywhere in this film. It's equally fair to say that some scenes show more directorial finesse than others. Look for even greater work from this master poet.

The only disappointment is Stanley Clarke's score, an unfortunate embarrassment for Mr. Clarke who is an accomplished jazz bassist otherwise. His score shows little ability to become emotionally involved with dramatic material and no skill with scenic beats and transitions. Clarke had a major opportunity to deliver here and he blew it -- and this is truly a hard movie to screw up.

"Down in the Delta" is movie blessed with plenty of heart and a talented ensemble that delivers. Well worth two hours of your time.
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6/10
Much less than it should have been.
Reid-144 May 2004
This film is a pallid mediocrity which wastes the enormous talents involved in it, including the magnificent Ms. Angelou. (One wonders, though, how being a great poet and prose writer qualifies her to direct a major feature). The true crime in this film is the dreadful script which gives the characters no development beyond shallow cliche (Drug-Addicted Urban Mom, Gentle Older Rural Man). The most annoying cliche of all is the old myth that the city kills and the country heals. What a crock. Our struggles are in our souls, not our locations, and moving back home to the country won't solve anything if you are not in a position to do the hard work to heal yourself. What a waste this movie was, considering what it could have been. If anyone wishes to see what such a movie can be if done right, also with Alfre Woodard in a starring role, give "Passion Fish" a try. It is much more truthful and far better done.
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7/10
Predictable, but well done
rag92618 January 2000
I knew how this movie was going to end after viewing the first 30 minutes. But, despite that, the journey was worthwhile. The film could have been done a better job of capturing the feeling of the "Delta" had it not been filmed in Canada.
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