Walter Lee Younger is a young man struggling with his station in life. Sharing a tiny apartment with his wife, son, sister and mother, he seems like an imprisoned man. Until, that is, the family gets an unexpected financial windfall...Written by
Greg Bruno <firstname.lastname@example.org>
When you rent A Raisin in the Sun, get ready for some seriously intense acting and a beautiful script. Usually, when a film is made of a play, one or two members of the Broadway cast are used, and the rest is filled with Hollywood names. In Daniel Petrie's adaptation of Lorraine Hansberry's play, almost everyone in the 1959 original Broadway cast reprised their roles on film. And, while Sidney Poitier and Claudia McNeil, as well as the direction and play itself, were nominated for Tonys, the film was universally ignored at the Oscars.
In a small apartment that doesn't even have a bathroom, there lives the widowed Claudia McNeil, her son Sidney Poitier, her daughter Diana Sands, and Sidney's wife Ruby Dee. They're all dissatisfied with their lives, but each family member deals with their disappointment and frustration in different ways. Sidney throws his heart into untrustworthy schemes, Diana is studying to become a doctor to better herself, Ruby keeps her head down as she tries to get through each day, and Claudia tries to continue mothering her grown children.
Unlike most plays, A Raisin in the Sun isn't overly wordy, and not a single moment is boring. It's terribly sad, but still a bit optimistic at times, and very thought-provoking. Perhaps my favorite element, besides the superbly heart-wrenching performances of Sidney and Claudia, is the character development in the script. Every single person in the story is three-dimensional, and no one is a villain or a saint. Audiences can understand their thought-processes and motivations, and it's nearly impossible to choose a favorite character. Depending on how well you handle sad stories, this might be a staple you add to your collection, or it might be a film you watch only once but remember forever.
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