Saturday, May 2, 2009

A Raisin in the Sun

What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore--
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over--
like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?

--Langston Hughes

Our film of the month takes its name from a line in the preceding poem. A Raisin in the Sun is Lorraine Hansberry's classic play about a family struggling to find their dreams and identity in 1950's America.

STATS
Year: 2008 (Not Rated)
Directed by Kenny Leon, based on the play by Lorraine Hansberry.
Starring Phylicia Rashad, Sean Combs, Audra McDonald, Sanaa Lathan, and John Stamos.
Setting: Chicago, 1950's.

Content warning: There is the mild profanity during a scene when Walter (Sean Combs) is drunk. We also see one scene where Beneatha (Sanaa Lathan) takes the Lord's name in vain repeatedly, however she receives a strong rebuke by her mother (Phylicia Rashad). This film has a happy ending.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR
1. Respect for Men (even when they screw up). Walter makes a very bad financial decision that nearly robs his entire family of their dreams. When the temptation to withdraw respect for his leadership rears its ugly head, his mother continues to believe in him.

2. The Search for Identity. My favorite character in this story is Beneatha, who is desperately trying to find herself. She searches high and low for meaning, and tries to define her identity through activities (like horseback riding) and African culture. Our true selves will eventually shine through, despite our numerous attempts to become someone we feel is more glamorous or important than who we were born to be.

3. The Lure of Success. What is success? Is it defined by money? Happiness? Love? Freedom? What lengths will we go to achieve it? What happens when our plans are ruined? Are we at peace, knowing that God is in control, or have we given up hope for a brighter tomorrow?

TRIVIA
The play was adapted for the screen twice before: 1961, (starring Sidney Poitier and Ruby Dee), 1989 (with Danny Glover and Esther Rolle). Both Sidney Poitier and Ruby Dee were also members of the original Broadway cast.

Click here to go to the official website. The official trailer is below:

1 comment:

Elessar said...

I finally took the time to watch this movie today (on your recommendation). I could only find the 1961 version at my library, but loved it nonetheless. Thanks for highlighting it on your blog. I hope all is well!