Anti-Semitism, race relations, coming of age, and fathers and sons: in Baltimore from fall, 1954, to fall, 1955. Racial integration comes to the high school, TV is killing burlesque, and ...
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Anti-Semitism, race relations, coming of age, and fathers and sons: in Baltimore from fall, 1954, to fall, 1955. Racial integration comes to the high school, TV is killing burlesque, and rock and roll is pushing the Four Lads off the Hit Parade. Ben, a high school senior, and his older brother Van are exploring "the other": in Ben's case, it's friendship with Sylvia, a Black student; with Van, it's a party in the WASP part of town and falling for a debutante, Dubbie. Sylvia gives Ben tickets to a James Brown concert; Dubbie invites Van to a motel: new worlds open. Meanwhile, their dad Nate, who runs a numbers game, loses big to a small-time pusher, Little Melvin; a partnership ensues.Written by
This movie is challenging on many levels and best of all is it does not insult the viewer's intelligence with pat plot lines and easy resolutions. It is very much a slice of life movie and provokes serious thought about growing up and the meaning of prejudice and racial barriers. It is a lovely film and I have resolved to see some other efforts from Barry Levinson as his is a rare talent. He lovingly captures Baltimore in the fifties in all its facets of neighbourhoods, the cast is stellar, not a false note among them, the music is wonderful and all the plot lines come together. I felt sad that it was over, I found myself quite involved with the characters who were multi dimensional with teasing snippets of background as in the disturbed Dubbie saying to Van she did not like spending time with her father and his boyfriend. And Sylvia's family being black and wealthiest by far than the others and she was following her mother and grandmother into a Black College so she could preserve the continuance. 8 out of 10. Recommended.
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