Saturday, January 3, 2009

A Raisin in the Sun (2008) NR - 5 Stars

OMG what a fantastic version of the epic classic by Lorraine Hansbury's. Academy award performances by all in this made for television movie, featuring some of the original Broadway cast. I bought it used for a Christmas present for one of my relatives and decided to take a sneak preview before I gave it. Well sorry cousin Bob, it's now in my collection of great movies.

It's the 1950's and an African American family huddled together under one roof in Chicago, has lost the pillar of the family, Walter Lee senior. As his widow Lena Younger (Phylicia Rashad) eagerly awaits the $10,000.00 insurance check, the family dreams of finding a better way to get ahead in life.

Walter Lee Jr. (Sean "P. Diddy" Combs), wants to take the money and invest in a liquor store that he's learned other brothers have risen to the top from. He's a dreamer and can't stand one more day of working as a chauffeur for an over pompous white man. He hears of a deal to invest in the store in order to end his families woes of poverty. His wife Ruth (Audra McDonald), works from the home as a servant doing laundry for a white family. Free spirited Beneatha (Sanaa Lathan), is Walter's sister also living under the roof, and she strives for more by attending school to become a doctor. She's confident that her mother Ruth will save some of the inheritance money for her college fund. Beneatha seems to have the best chance to make in out in the big world and is being pursued by two different men, George Murchison (Sean Patrick Thomas), the rich but extremely superficial snappy dresser and classmate Joseph Asagai (David Oyelowo) who allows her to explore her inner child while teaching her about Africa.

Walter Jr's obsession of his investment dreams is taking it's tole on the family where Ruth now has thoughts of aborting her recently found out pregnancy. The two move farther apart from each other as Walter feels he has nothing else to live for without his dreams. As Lena can see what pain her son is going through, she entrusts part of the money with him to make a partial investment, while putting the other half away for his sister's fund. Instead, Walter looses all the money getting foolishly swindled, severely hurting his mother. But at least Lena had done one good thing with part of the money. She bought the family a new home in the better part of town smack dab in the middle of an extremely white and prejudice neighborhood.

Mr. Linder (John Stamos) is on the committee to encourage the family to sell their home and move somewhere else where they would be more suited. In other words, away from the whites. The family now dealing with their savings gone, a new pregnancy and a college fund giving away, must find the courage to rise up and take what's rightfully theirs.

Sony Pictures, Storyline Entertainment
Director: Kenny Leon
Writer: Paris Qualles
Producer: John M. Eckert
I viewed 12/08

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