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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.

Director:

Charles Burnett

Writers:

Dorothy West (novel), Lisa Jones (teleplay)
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5 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Halle Berry ... Shelby Coles
Eric Thal ... Meade Howell
Lynn Whitfield ... Corinne Coles
Carl Lumbly ... Lute McNeil
Michael Warren ... Clark Coles
Marianne Jean-Baptiste ... Ellen Coles
Cynda Williams ... Liz Odis
Charlayne Woodard
Richard Brooks ... Lincoln Odis
Gabriel Casseus ... Hannibal
Shirley Knight ... Gram (Miss Caroline)
Ethel Ayler ... Eunice
Paul Butler Paul Butler ... Preacher
Peter Francis James ... Isaac Coles
Carl Gordon ... Mr. Hawkins
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Storyline

Shelby Coles is engaged to marry talented white jazz musician Meade Howell, but the pair face opposition from both Meade's family, who object to an inter-racial marriage, and Shelby's parents, who want her to marry a professional. As Shelby is afflicted by premarital doubts, handsome Lute McNeil arrives on the scene, determined to make Shelby his at any cost.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Two men. Two different worlds. One final decision. See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

22 February 1998 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Oprah Winfrey Presents: The Wedding See more »

Filming Locations:

Southport, North Carolina, USA See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(edited)

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Quotes

Meade Howell: I need to talk to you, Shel.
Shelby Coles: No, it's not a good time.
Meade Howell: No, I need to talk to you now. Listen, I thought that music came first, and I was wrong. You come before that. I love you. And I am not going to let you just walk away with no good reason.
Shelby Coles: I think I've given you very good reasons, Meade.
Meade Howell: Why, Shel? Because we can't stay in the same hotel in Georgia? We'll make them let us stay in the same hotel!
Shelby Coles: No, it's because I don't think I want to spend my whole life fighting, defending who we are. ...
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Swing and a MISS...Sorry Oprah! (may contain spoilers)
8 April 2008 | by CC1966See all my reviews

There are so many things wrong with this movie (if you have read the book), that i don't know where to begin: First let me say that Halle Berry was great as Shelby. But she was more physically suited to play Liz...

Again, if you read the book, you see that Shelby's hair is blonde, and her eyes are blue, and her skin is very fair. There was a flashback (in the book) to when she got lost as a little girl. She was lost for so long because no one knew to look for her specifically-they were expecting to find a child with traditionally black features.

With regard to Lute McNeil: Dorothy West paints a picture of a man who, because of his upbringing, generally hates women (ironically, not his daughters, though); he sees them as possessions and breeders, and moves on when the next lady strikes his fancy. If he stuck to his pattern, Shelby would have gone the way of the all the other women. In the end, I think she saw that. The movie painted him far too sympathetically-you wanted to cheer for him as Shelby's salvation. But Lute as a dangerous man.

The chemistry between Meade and Shelby on screen was sooooooooooo weak-thus making Lute that much more attractive. That's not the way West meant it. And why the screenwriters chose to change his name from Wyler (in the book) to Howell (In the movie) made no sense to me.

And in the book, the little girl died from her injuries after being struck by the car. Hearing Gram say at the end "oh thank heavens, that little girl is gonna be alright" was just plain cheesy.

This was one of the most beautifully written books this century, and as much as I love Oprah, I found her vision of it for TV completely out of step with the spirit of what Dorothy West wrote. If you can, you owe it to yourself to get a copy of West's final masterpiece.


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