The Jacksons are your average working-class family in Gary, Indiana; but when their father discovers the kids have an extraordinary musical talent they form a band. Winning talent show ... See full summary »
Holly Robinson Peete
In 1984, British newspaper reporter Arthur Stuart is investigating the career of 1970s glam rock star Brian Slade, who was heavily influenced in his early years by American rock singer Curt... See full summary »
Jonathan Rhys Meyers,
Based on the true story of Ruben Santiago Jr. and his relationship with his guardian Rachel Crosby, set in 1950's and 1960's Lackawanna, New York. After the separation of his parents, young Ruben "Junior" Santiago, a part-black, part-Hispanic child, is sent to live in a small-scale boarding house run by the kind-hearted Rachel "Nanny" Crosby and her younger husband Bill. Ruben then grows up witnessing the world of soul and blues music and grows to know the various characters that Nanny takes into her household to help out, from disturbed Ol'lem Taylor; one-armed handyman Mr. Lucious; hairdresser Bertha; war veteran Lonnie; ex-convict Mr. Paul; butch cleaner Ricky and many others. Written by
A Wonderful Ensemble and an Unforgettable Main Character
The centerpiece of Lackawanna Blues is the character Rachel "Nanny" Crosby, who runs a boardinghouse and provides unflagging support to a young boy, Ruben, the narrator of the film. Based upon the experiences of writer-actor Ruben Santiago-Hudson, the film lovingly recreates the upstate New York boardinghouse and evokes the cultural climate of a world in transition in the 1960s.
The first half of the film is virtually non-stop music. The second half addresses more completely the various characters in the boardinghouse. Nanny's ability "to take fragments and make them whole" affects everyone within her sphere. An especially vivid scene is when she confronts an abusive husband, telling him firmly, "If you ever touch that child again, we're going to dance!" As delivered by actress S. Epatha Merkerson, that line is so steely and filled with such resolve that the husband with the hair-trigger temper is frozen in his tracks.
From start to finish, Merkerson delivers a commanding presence Her character binds together the disparate lives of the borders in her home. This was a touching, heartfelt film with a wonderful cast. As played by Merkerson, the character of Nanny simply radiates love. This is a film experience that I will remember for a long time to come.
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