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Strange Fruit (2004)

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Ratings: 5.5/10 from 205 users  
Reviews: 16 user | 4 critic

William Boyals, a successful, black, gay attorney in New York, is drawn back to the small, rural Louisiana town he long ago escaped from to investigate the lynching of a black gay childhood friend.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Ron Allen ...
Kelvin Ayers
Cornell S. Thomas ...
Henchman #1 (as Cornell Thomas)
...
William Boyals
...
Cedric
Sam Jones ...
Sheriff Jensey
...
Emma Ayers
Charlie Schroeder ...
Tommy
Wilbert Lewis ...
Preacher (as Reverend Wilbert Lewis)
...
Duane Ayers
Nancy B. Shepard ...
Funeral Mourner (as Nancy B. Shepard Ph.D.)
Sandra Lutcher ...
Funeral Mourner
Charlotte Washington ...
Funeral Mourner
Thelma Y. Thomas ...
Funeral Mourner
...
Deputy Conover
Jon Finck ...
Deputy Adams
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Storyline

William Boyals, a successful, black, gay attorney in New York, is drawn back to the small, rural Louisiana town he long ago escaped from to investigate the lynching of a black gay childhood friend.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

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Southern trees bear...Strange Fruit See more »


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Release Date:

22 June 2005 (USA)  »

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Did You Know?

Trivia

First credited feature film role for Jared Day, who portrays Deputy Conover. See more »

Crazy Credits

Chico was not harmed in the making of this film. See more »

Connections

References In the Heat of the Night (1967) See more »

Soundtracks

We Old School
by Carmelo Angel Ruiz
(uncredited)
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User Reviews

 
A Film with So Many Subplots That the Strange Fruit is Just One in Bowl
22 September 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

The opening credits for the writer/director Kyle Schickner (Full Frontal, Rose by any other Name) film STRANGE FRUIT are eloquently beautiful camera passages down a Louisiana bayou at night, the end point being an isolated little club (the Gator) reached only by a floating raft. The mood is set for an atmospheric Southern Gothic drama: what follows is an overly complicated exploration of racism, homophobia, family dysfunction, police corruption, prejudice (racial and gender), and most important gay homophobia! Too many irons in the fire make a film that has a lot of potential come to a confusing end: too many of the subplots and motivations remain unexplained.

There is a lynching of a black gay man in the parking lot of The Gator (a gay bar where people of like minds can hide at night as long as they stay in the closet outside the bar). The mother Emma Ayers (a radiant Berlinda Tolbert) and her ne're-do-well remaining son Duane (David Raibon) are convinced the incident was a murder but the sheriff (Sam Jones) and his redneck deputies (with the exception of Deputy Conover - Jared Day) dismiss the lynching as justified because it was 'sexually motivated' and gay men deserve such an end. Emma calls the victim's childhood friend William Boyals (the fine Kent Faulcon), a successful lawyer now in New York, to come and investigate. What William discovers upon his return to his hometown is a cast of characters that includes hateful white trash, closeted black gays afraid to defend each other, 'law enforcement' that is anything but honest, the strength and devotion of his 'aunt Emma', and the mother that disowned him when he came out of the closet to be a successful gay man. The story proceeds to follow leads about the lynching and along the way there are other murders and lynchings that muddle the picture until the finale when the words of the Gator owner explain the happenings: 'Nothing is ever like it appears to be'.

The film is moody, atmospheric, and there are some fine performances by Faulcon, Tolbert, Raibon, Jared Day and Jones. The problems include a script that opts for generalities and clichés and once again a music score and recording system that buries a lot of the dialogue. But it is refreshing to see a story that views the black gay life in the South from the vantage of a handsome, successful, gay black man. Though overly long at 115 minutes, STRANGE FRUIT is still a film of interest for the chances it takes.


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