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5 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Outstanding

Author: adajaa (adajaa@adelphia.net) from Danville, Virginia
25 February 2004

This celebration of Beah Richard's life moved my spirit. She defines the very essence of the Black Women. She has motivated me to just Be. This women inspires me to be a higher me. There is grace in her presence. I am interested in reading some of the scripts she performed. I think everyone could learn a lesson from this women. We learn about great educators and leaders, she should be at the top of the list. I regret that I never met this women but she is loved. She is love. And to the director...Your strength and love was demonstrated in this documentary. No one could have done a better job. I have much respect for you. You recognize where we still stand in this struggle and you never let it stop you in your own acting career.

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

The Lion Roared -- with laughter and tears

10/10
Author: ctclemens from New York City
22 October 2003

It is an honor to speak about the documentary of this life story that is bigger than life. I had had only 2hrs sleep for 2 nights in a row and was so afraid I would nod off (regardless of the film I was about to see) that I brought a whole thermos of espresso and a chocolate bar. But I found myself riveted to my seat while being raised to a higher level of humanity and basking in the glow of this beautiful, brilliant, dramatic woman overflowing with pride, grace, indefatigability, anger, compassion, and clear-eyed philosophy --and prone to outrageous laughter.

I never opened the thermos or the wrapper--what I needed was a hanky or a tighter belt (so as not to bust a seam laughing) for this moving portrayal of Ms. Richards exemplary life of activism and art and pluck. Though some may mainly remember her portrayal of the mother of Sidney Poitier's character in "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner", this is truly a life story crying to be heard and we are so fortunate for Ms. Hamilton's sensitive portrayal. Quite fortunate indeed, as tragically, this film was almost not made. The project was begun only a year before Ms. Richard's sole defeat in life--to emphysema at the age of 80. Prior to that was a string of victories that would not be denied. Virtually any aspect of life or art Mr. Richards set her sights on was reached. At only 17 years of age, and from humble origins in Vicksburg, Mississippi, she composed one of the most moving poetic tributes you're ever likely to hear--to the legendary Paul Robeson--and she had the opportunity to read it to him when they met years later.

After seeing one of her first recognized virtuoso acting performances in New York, Marlon Brando was quoted as saying "I should tear up my [acting] equity card--that woman is a genius!" And only days before she died, Ms. Richards received her 3rd Emmy award for a role in the TV series "The Practice."

And yet for me, the most powerful, tour de force performance was Beah Richards as... Beah Richards. Don't be fooled by the appearance of an nearly bed-bound 80-year old woman with oxygen tubing under her nose; this woman is a lion, ready to roar to life in her vivid recollections, a fierce poet-warrior staking out sharp, penetrating assertions and a wizened shaman revealing wisdoms and twinkling sly insights gleaned from a life fully realized.

This is one of the most moving pieces of filmmaking I can think of, made all the more impressive by the fact that the most memorable scenes are just Mr. Richards facing off against her invisible audience behind the camera--from her bed, tethered to oxygen tanks, and reaching through the screen, grabbing you by your collar and with one deft "360-degree phrase"--electrifying your mind with her spirit... infusing hope into your heart... and breathing life into your very soul....

Unforgettable.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

A documentary that must be seen.

10/10
Author: redredblondie from Augusta, Ga
14 March 2004

It was with great honor to broadcast such a phenomenal woman, a woman who was not afraid to bear her true essence in film, poetry, directing, teaching and having said the last word. The documentary brought tears to my eyes, with such greatness from her films and poetry, her works shall always be ingrain in my heart. It takes much courage to struggle in a world that has so-long been divided especially when it comes to finding black roles in the acting industry; as well as having her voice heard without being accused of being radical. I applaud all that allowed her story to be told...because she is indeed a woman of many talents and excellence. Her vitality and energy emerged until the very end...thank you Beah!

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Lovely

10/10
Author: melibra from Colorado
26 February 2004

Very moving and a beautiful job!! I knew very little about Beah Richards, but this documentary opened my eyes. What an extraordinary and beautiful woman! I commend Lisa Gay Hamilton in taking on the task of putting this altogether.

I enjoy every moment from the time the movie started until the time it ended. There's a lot to be learned from here and it's one more reminder of the struggles that were endured during the turn of the 20th century. This movie brought tears to my eyes, something I will never forget.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

The Lion Roared -- with laughter and tears

10/10
Author: ctclemens from NYC
22 October 2003

It is an honor to speak about the documentary of this life story that is bigger than life. I had had only 2hrs sleep ! for 2 nights in a row and was so afraid I would nod off (regardless of the film I was about to see) that I brought a whole thermos of espresso and a chocolate bar. But I found myself riveted to my seat while being raised to a higher level of humanity and basking in the glow of this beautiful, brilliant, dramatic woman overflowing with pride, grace, indefatigability, anger, compassion, and clear-eyed philosophy --and prone to outrageous laughter.

I never opened the thermos or the wrapper--what I needed was a hanky or a tighter belt (so as not to bust a seam laughing) for this moving portrayal of Ms. Richards exemplary life of activism and art and pluck. Though some may mainly remember her portrayal of the mother of Sidney Poitier's character in "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner", this is truly a life story crying to be heard and we are so fortunate for Ms. Hamilton's sensitive portrayal. Quite fortunate indeed, as tragically, this film was almost not made. The project was begun less than a year before Ms. Richard's sole defeat in life--to emphysema at the age of 80. Prior to that was a string of victories that would not be denied. Virtually any aspect of life or art Mr. Richards set her sights on was reached. At only 17 years of age, and from humble origins in Vicksburg, Mississippi, she composed one of the most moving poetic tributes you're ever likely to hear--to the legendary Paul Robeson--and she had the opportunity to read it to him when they met years later.

After seeing one of her first recognized virtuoso acting performances in New York, Marlon Brando was quoted as saying "I should tear up my [acting] equity card--that woman is a genius!" And only days before she died, Ms. Richards received her 3rd Emmy award for a role in the TV series "The Practice."

And yet for me, the most powerful, tour de force performance was Beah Richards as... Beah Richards. Don't be fooled by the appearance of a nearly bed-bound 80-year old woman with oxygen tubing under her nose; this woman is a lion, ready to roar to life in her vivid recollections, a fierce poet-warrior staking out sharp, penetrating assertions and a wizened shaman revealing wisdoms and twinkling sly insights gleaned from a life fully realized.

This is one of the most moving pieces of filmmaking I can think of, made all the more impressive by the fact that the most memorable scenes are just Ms. Richards facing off against her invisible audience behind the camera--from her bed, tethered to oxygen tanks, and reaching through the screen, grabbing you by your collar and with one mighty "360-degree phrase"--electrifying your mind with her spirit... infusing hope into your heart... and breathing life into your very soul.

Unforgettable...

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

A Black Woman Speaks - A Vision of Black Beauty

10/10
Author: joypromotes from United States
19 February 2005

I just finished watching A Black Woman Speaks and I'm still crying. One of the last things Beach Richards said was "the last word has not been spoken" and I heard myself talking back to the TV saying "Yes Mam, Yes Mam". I felt like I was listening to and taking instructions form my GrandMother who was from Vicksburg. I had the honor of experiencing Miss Richards in person reciting "Don't Be Afraid of the Dark". Lisa Gay Hamilton, thank you, thank you, thank you for believing in your vision and for documenting this beautiful courageous lady, sojourner of truth and African Queen.

A Black Woman Speaks should be required reading in every elementary, middle school and high school in this country. I thank God I am a Black Woman!

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Simply Brilliant

10/10
Author: kswdmm7 from United States
7 January 2005

LisaGay captured the spirit and soul of this incredible woman. I was moved to tears more than once and after viewing it you can say that she lived so many lives, and empowered people of all races and creeds to do the same.

I only hope within my lifetime that her visions are realized, for this is a movie I would love for my future children to see to realize that you cannot except hatred, you must fight to change it with love.

I know as a person of Irish heritage I cannot possibly know the struggles she had to endure, but I know my world is a better place because of her bravery both on and off screen.

Bless you, Beah.

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