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A Raisin in the Sun (2008)

TV Movie  |  PG-13  |   |  Drama  |  25 February 2008 (USA)
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Reviews: 19 user | 9 critic

An African-American family struggles with poverty, racism, and inner conflict as they strive for a better way of life. Based on the play by Lorraine Hansberry.



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Nominated for 2 Golden Globes. Another 7 wins & 14 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Willy Harris (as Ron C. Jones)
Earline Johnson
Rudy Webb ...
Mr Johnson
Martin Roach ...
Walter Lee Sr
Mrs. Arnold
Paul Stephen ...
Mr. Arnold


After moving to Chicago's South Side in the 1950s, a black family struggles to deal with poverty, racism, and inner conflict as they strive for a better life. Adapted for the screen from Lorraine Hansberry's play, this is a moving portrait of dreams deferred. Written by Anonymous

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PG-13 | See all certifications »

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Release Date:

25 February 2008 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El color de los sueños  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


TV version of the Tony award-winning 2004 play revival, with same director and most of the lead-cast: Kenny Leon, Sean Combs , Phylicia Rashad, Audra McDonald, Sanaa Lathan and Bill Nunn. See more »


When they are packing up the apartment, Momma is working on putting sticks around a small plant to protect it to wrap it. The number and location of the sticks are not in sync with the timing. See more »


Asagai: There is something wrong when all the dreams of a household depend on a man dying.
See more »


Version of A Raisin in the Sun (1961) See more »


I Dream Of Love And You
Written by Mervyn Warren
Performed by Mervyn Warren
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User Reviews

Poitier emoted, Diddy twitched
25 February 2008 | by (chicago, Illinois) – See all my reviews

There is nothing wrong with remaking and recasting the Lorraine Hansberry masterwork; we shouldn't pay undue fealty to the original cast. I'm sure Olivier's, Jacobi's, and Branaugh's Hamlet would suffer in comparison to the original Burbage performance. Plays are meant to be inhabited by different people as the generations pass. Therefore, there is nothing wrong, in theory, to the making of this version.

This rendition is superior to the 1989 "American Playhouse" performance, which was poorly paced and largely overacted. The female parts are perfectly cast and performed. The same cannot be said, unfortunately, for the male parts.

P. Diddy, or Sean Combs, or whatever name he is going by these days, simply does not have the acting chops to bring out the complexities of the Walter Younger character. Where Sidney Poitier and, to a lesser extent, Danny Glover, were able to grasp hold of the anger and frustration of the man, Mr. Diddy twitches and frowns. He performs as if a lowered head and furrowed eyebrows are the makings of a great performance. I was reminded of Hayden Christianson taking the complex evil of Darth Vader and turning him into a naughty teenager. Combs plays Walter like a street punk.

Sean Patrick Thomas, as George Murchison, fares a little better. He does what he can with what is essentially a superficial and somewhat stereotyped character.

The greatest error is the miscasting of John Stamos as Lindner. He gives the character a harder, more outwardly racist edge than John Fiedler, who created the role. Stamos drips hatred and prejudice just a little too much -- it is easy to ultimately say no to him just to tick him off. Fiedler, working with Hansberry, had a much better grip on the role -- not a man who is outwardly racist, but as one who is sadly misinformed, ignorant (meaning, simply, not understanding), and afraid. Stamos tries to chew up just a little too much scenery.

David Oyelowo, as Joseph Asagai, is the most well cast male in the film, hitting every note required by the character.

The female cast fares far better. Phylicia Rashad recreates and improves upon the role of Lena Younger, breaking the "Mammy"-isms of the earlier performers. Audra McDonald certainly will not usurp Ruby Dee as the definitive Ruth Younger, but does an excellent job in a part that requires an extreme range of emotion.

The greatest revelation in the film by far is Sanaa Lathan as Beneatha. Beneatha is a key character in the play and is relatively ignored in the original, and not particularly well played in the 1989 version. Playing a character substantially younger than she is in real live, Lathan is able to exhibit the hope, anger, childish "know-it-all" attitude and sadness of a young woman in her position. Unfortunately, the screenwriters chose to omit her lovely, sad second-act monologue about her desire to become a doctor; this section was excised in the original film and restored in the American Playhouse version and should have been present here.

Overall, this is a worthwhile film, but imperfect in many ways.

12 of 14 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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