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Lackawanna Blues (2005)

TV Movie  |  PG-13  |   |  Drama, Music  |  12 February 2005 (USA)
7.9
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 1,959 users  
Reviews: 39 user | 6 critic

In a story fueled by rhythm and blues, a young boy's life is shaped by love and the stories of a cast of characters in the boarding house where he lives in 1960s Lackawanna, New York.

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Title: Lackawanna Blues (TV Movie 2005)

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Won 1 Golden Globe. Another 27 wins & 29 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Rachel "Nanny" Crosby
...
Ruben Santiago Jr. (as Marcus Franklin)
...
The Bandleader (as Mos Def)
...
Alean
Bill Simms Jr. ...
Himself
...
Ol'lem Taylor
...
Pauline
...
Bill Crosby (as Terrance Dashon Howard)
...
Dick Barrymore
...
Mr. Lucious
...
Bertha
...
Freddie Cobbs
...
Ulysses Ford
...
Ruben Santiago Sr.
...
Laura's Mother
Edit

Storyline

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 Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Play it. Sing it. Shout it. Feel it.

Genres:

Drama | Music

Certificate:

PG-13 | See all certifications »
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Details

Official Sites:

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

12 February 2005 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Notes storgis  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Budget:

$12,000,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Based on the autobiographical one-man show by Ruben Santiago-Hudson. See more »

Goofs

During the club scenes during the 1950s, there are a number of 45 rpm singles hanging on the walls. One is a Columbia Records single with the 1970s design and logo. See more »

Quotes

Bertha: Did you see all those negroes shouting "black power, black power"? Hair as nappy as can be!
Rachel "Nanny" Crosby: The black panthers?
Bertha: Yeah. I have all the "black power" they need right in my hot comb.
See more »

Connections

Featured in 2006 Independent Spirit Awards (2006) See more »

Soundtracks

Destination Love
Written by Jerry Leiber & Mike Stoller
Performed by Yasiin Bey
Produced by Bruce Robb & Evyen Klean
Recorded, Arranged, Engineered & Mixed by Bruce Robb at Cherokee Studios
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
A slice of life
13 February 2005 | by (New York) – See all my reviews

The main reason for watching this picture is to savor the brilliant performance of S. Ephata Merkerson. Ms. Merkerson dominates this film with her tremendous presence as Nanny, the woman who believes in doing good, no matter to whom, with no strings attached. This actress clearly shows a range that is amazing.

Thanks to director George Wolf for bringing this distinguished cast of some of the best Black Americans actors together. This ensemble group under his tight direction help create the right atmosphere in which the action takes place.

Of course, none of this would have been possible if Ruben Santiago Hudson hadn't written his wonderful play. Working with Mr. Wolf, perhaps the best theater director of this generation, they have opened the play in a way that it evokes that not too distant past where a child lives under the influence of Ms. Crosby, when his own parents are not around to take care of him. Ms. Crosby becomes the adoring mother of little Ruben; in a way, he represents her reward for having lost her own daughter.

Unfortunately, there is no time to develop some of the characters, as the action solely concentrates in enhancing the relationship between Nanny and the young Ruben, played with such charm by the young Marcus Carl Franklin, who is a natural. The only thing that could have been done differently was the voice over narration that is at times intrusive, as it doesn't clarify, or justify what one is seeing. Frankly, just by watching the interaction of the players, is self explanatory.

In the background there is always music. No matter what hard times these people are going through, but Nanny's house is full of laughter and that glorious music that takes us back to that era.

Aside from Ms. Merkerson, other notable performances are given by Terrence Dashon Howard, one of the rising stars of the moment. Mos Def, Jeffrey Wright, Marcy Gray, Louis Gossett Jr.,Delroy Lindo, Rosie Perez, Carmen Ejogo, Jimmy Smits and the rest.

Ms. S. Ephata Merkerson deserves to be seen by a wider audience. In "Lackawanna Blues", she clearly demonstrates she can do anything she wants because of her enormous talent and charisma.


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