HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Glass
My Brilliant Career
Knife for the Ladies, A
Man in the Attic
Destroyer
Fillmore
Bumblebee
No Kidding
Honkytonk Man
Woman in the Window, The
Shed of the Dead
Dead Easy
Tucked
Widows
Last Movie Star, The
Death Game
Juliet, Naked
November
Arcadia
Sugar Hill
House with the Clock in Its Walls, The
Devil Thumbs a Ride, The
Suspiria
Secret People
Spy Who Dumped Me, The
Beautiful Stranger
House That Jack Built, The
Undercover
White Chamber
R.P.M.
Summer of 84
On Secret Service
Survive!
My Sister Eileen
Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween
Last Picture Show, The
Pathfinder
Skatetown, USA
Donbass
He Loves Me... He Loves Me Not
   
 
Newest Articles
Tucked: The Derren Nesbitt Interview
Locomotion Pictures: The Best of British Transport Films on Blu-ray
Roman Scandals: Extreme Visions from Ancient Rome
Spider-Wrong and Spider-Right: The Dragon's Challenge and Into the Spider-Verse
Monster Dog: Cujo on Blu-ray
For Christ's Sake: Jesus Christ Superstar and The Last Temptation of Christ
Not In Front of the Children: Inappropriate Kids Movies
Deeper into Ozploitation: Next of Kin and Fair Game
Between the Wars: Babylon Berlin Series 1&2 on DVD
Hard Luck Story: Detour on Blu-ray
Oh, What Happened to You? The Likely Lads on Blu-ray
Killer Apps: The Rise of the Evil 60s Supercomputers
How 1970s Can You Get? Cliff Richard in Take Me High vs Never Too Young to Rock
A Perfect Engine, An Eating Machine: The Jaws Series
Phwoar, Missus! Sexytime for Hollywood
   
 
  Soul Man Disguise In LoveBuy this film here.
Year: 1986
Director: Steve Miner
Stars: C. Thomas Howell, Rae Dawn Chong, Arye Gross, James Earl Jones, Melora Hardin, Leslie Nielsen, Ann Walker, James Sikking, Max Wright, Jeff Altman, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Maree Cheatham, Wallace Langham, Eric Schiff, Ron Reagan, Mark Neely, David Reynolds
Genre: Comedy
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: Mark Watson (C. Thomas Howell) awakens one morning to the sound of his radio alarm, which he switches off with a well-aimed tennis ball. It is then he notices that he is not alone on the bed, as there is a blonde woman lying beside him. Before he can gather his thoughts, the bedroom door bursts open and his best friend Gordon (Arye Gross) jumps on top of him: he has the letters from Harvard they have been waiting for, and the news is good. They have both been accepted, and as they both have rich parents, they don't need to worry about money. Or at least Mark doesn't until his father tells him he isn't going to pay up this time...

And so begins the much-maligned Soul Man, which had to suffer accusations of racism due to its central notion. What happens is that privileged Mark cannot get funding for his courses as he does not qualify for any of them, so the obvious thing to do, he decides, is to overdose on tanning pills so he turns black, then apply for an African-American scholarship. Yes, it was all about a white man passing for black, not to see how differently he would be treated by society, but for his own personal gain and because he liked The Cosby Show. Not the most appealing of protagonists, then.

And for the first half of the film, he is very much the "asshole" that Sarah (Rae Dawn Chong), his classmate, judges him to be, which makes for some uncomfortable viewing. The trouble is, well, the first trouble is, that Howell is entirely unconvincing as a black man - he would have been rumbled in minutes because simply painting brown makeup on him and giving him a black and curly wig does not make him look a different race, he looks as if he's wearing blackface. Therefore a certain suspension of disbelief is necessary before you can get on with the rest of the story, and that may not be enough for many viewers.

The other trouble is that Soul Man is meant to be a comedy, but screenwriter Carol Black had actually rustled up a premise better suited to searing social drama. Howell is better in his scenes as the spoiled rich kid, but if his ambition was to be annoying when he adopts his disguise then he succeeds with conviction. The humour is strictly frothy, culminating in a setpiece where Mark has to welcome into his apartment the patronising rich girl who fancies him because she thinks he's black, his unexpectedly visiting parents, plus Sarah, who he has grown attached to and wants to impress. It's the stuff of farce, but it needed a lighter touch than director Steve Miner is able to offer.

While Soul Man can be seen as crass for a while, it's as if its conscience gets the better of it eventually and things start to get tougher for Mark. He keeps overhearing a couple of students telling racist jokes that become harder and harder to shrug off, he gets harassed by the police and spends a night in the cells for a triviality, and he finds out that Sarah (Chong is better than the material, really) would have won the scholarship he got if he had opted to find a part time job to support himself as she has been forced to do (and she has a young son to look after, just to rub the hardship in). So it turns out that the film had its heart in the right place after all, and while tackling the theme as comedy might have been misguided, it does make a fair point about racial attitudes. Just not very well. Music by Tom Scott.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 2308 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star do you think makes the best coffee?
Emma Stone
Anna Kendrick
Michelle Rodriguez
Sir Patrick Stewart
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Enoch Sneed
Andrew Pragasam
  Derrick Smith
Paul Shrimpton
Darren Jones
George White
Stately Wayne Manor
   

 

Last Updated: