A drama set in the 1920s, where free-spirited Janie Crawford's search for happiness leads her through several different marriages, challenging the morals of her small town. Based on the novel by Zora Neale Hurston.
Mama Flora reflects on her life while trying to help her grand-daughter get her life right and be a better mother for her son. All while bringing the family she has left back together. Movies takes place from the 1910s to the 1970s.
An urban black couple (Terrence Howard, Nicole Parker) traveling via back roads from Chicago to LA has a car breakdown in a backwater town where everyone is white trailer trash and racial ... See full summary »
Nicole Ari Parker,
Brendan Sexton III
A musical set in the Prohibition-era American South, where a speakeasy performer and club manager Rooster must contend with gangsters who have their eyes on the club while his piano player ... See full summary »
Four friends play an evening game of dominoes, drink, and talk about women. As Glenn asks, who would know that such a good time would turn into this? Each one is going through or has ... See full summary »
Based on the novel by Gloria Naylor, which deals with several strong-willed women who live in a rundown housing project on Brewster Place in an unidentified eastern city; across three ... See full summary »
A disc jockey invites a relationship therapist as an on-air guest. They explore LA relationship struggles through three different callers' unbelievable stories, and in the process the DJ discovers his own love issues.
Corrupt record company executives kill a singing sensation with a drug overdose rather than letting her leave their label and join another company. They then frame her cousin/manager for ... See full summary »
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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