This biography of Dorothy Dandridge follows her career through early days on the club circuit with her sister to her turn in movies, including becoming the first black actress to win a Best... See full summary »
Klaus Maria Brandauer
A plantation owner's son falls in love with a slave named Easter and together they have a Mixed race daughter named Queen. As Queen grows up, she faces the struggle of trying to fit into ... See full summary »
The Jacksons are your average working-class family in Gary, Indiana; but when their father discovers the kids have an extraordinary musical talent they form a band. Winning talent show ... See full summary »
Born poor in St. Louis, Missouri, Josephine Baker achieved fame and fortune through her sizzlingly exotic, erotic performances. Starting life on the American Vaudeville circuit, success ... See full summary »
In 1950s Massachusetts, a wealthy black woman engaged to a poor white beatnik learns about her family history. The stories revolve around the racial and class complexities of interracial and class-based marriages.
Darius Lovehall is a young black poet in Chicago who starts dating Nina Mosley, a beautiful and talented photographer. While trying to figure out if they've got a "love thing" or are just "... See full summary »
The story of a young man, Jason (Allen Payne) who must confront his trauma-induced insecurity about love, as well as a sense of owed responsibility to his mother and troubled brother Joshua... See full summary »
Jada Pinkett Smith,
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 »
In the mid-1980s, three women (each with an attorney) arrive at the office of New York entertainment manager Morris Levy. One is a singer from Los Angeles, formerly of the Platters; one is a petty thief from Philadelphia; one teaches high school in a small Georgia town. Each claims to be the widow of long-dead doo-wop singer-songwriter Frankie Lyman, and each wants years of royalties due to his estate, money Levy has never shared. During an ensuing civil trial, flashbacks tell the story of each one's life with Lyman, a boyish, high-pitched, dynamic performer, lost to heroin. Slowly, the three widows come together and establish their own bond.Written by
Halle Berry and Lela Rochon previously worked together in Boomerang (1992) though they did not share any screen time together. See more »
Elizabeth Waters testified in court that she first met Frankie in 1961, but in the flashback to their first meeting, the music playing on the department store stereo is "Walk On The Wild Side", not released in 1962. See more »
[after receiving a restaurant bill]
You better let me take care of this. Cause if you haven't heard, my record's #3!
[Teenagers yell in agreement]
No, you better let ME take of this. Cause if you haven't heard, MY record's #1!
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An interesting (but flawed account) of the battle over pop star Frankie Lymon's estate by three women claiming to be his widow...
The story portrayed here is actually semi-fictitious, but the background story of Frankie's life is entirely true.
From his starts as a fresh-faced Harlem kid to a haunted drug addict, Larenz Tate (one of the most underrated talents in Hollywood) shines as dreamer Frankie, and does well to give perspective to Frankie's conflicting attitudes towards his relationships with the women, which the script muddles- Frankie appears shallow yet introspective at the same time.
Halle Berry tries to make more of her understated and thin role as Zola Taylor, wifey no. 2, but provides an adequate performance.
The most developed of the three female characters, is Elizabeth Waters (Viveca A. Fox). Loyal yet dishonest, gritty Elizabeth is the only character aside from Frankie that seems to be real. This is a combined effort by the characterisation and the performance by Fox.
And Lela Rochon does very well cast against type, as a school marm dragged into this battle. Rochon clearly understands the character well, and manages to make her mark on the story despite being developed late into the film.
The period detail of this piece is well captured over the 20-odd years that this story is set (particularly the performances of Frankie with the Teenagers), and even the small scenes which provide insight into Frankie's younger days.
The main flaws of this film lie essentially in the struggle to develop some of the themes. As mentioned earlier, Frankie's reasons for bigamy are not established at all or how he copes this with this, or whether one of the wives in particular is lying about the legitimacy of her marriage.
Some of the characterisation is a bit thin, caused by some of the later events of the film and because this deep story of fame, loss, betrayal and torment has such a muddled structure the whole film comes across as sketchy by the end which clearly was not intended.
But never the less this is an adequate tribute, to the world of fame and its inevitable clingers-on, and those just caught up in the action. This will never be top of its genre however...
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