HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Halloween Kills
Cicada
Sun Shines Bright, The
Last Thing Mary Saw, The
Comets
Herself
Mon Oncle d'Amerique
Wild Strawberries
Runner, The
Don't Look Up
Ghostbusters: Afterlife
Eternals
Forever Purge, The
Memoria
Venom: Let There Be Carnage
Legend of La Llorona, The
Japon
Glasshouse
Perdita Durango
Commando, The
Woodlands Dark and Days Bewitched: A History of Folk Horror
Boiling Point
Malignant
Deadly Games
Ailey
Voyeurs, The
Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes
In the Earth
Hiroshima Mon Amour
Hotel Poseidon
Zola
No Time to Die
Klaus
Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey
Candyman
Power of the Dog, The
StageFright
Voyage of Time: An IMAX Documentary
Suicide Squad, The
One Night in Miami...
   
 
Newest Articles
Super Sammo: Warriors Two and The Prodigal Son on Blu-ray
Sex vs Violence: In the Realm of the Senses on Blu-ray
What's So Funny About Brit Horror? Vampira and Bloodbath at the House of Death on Arrow
Keeping the Beatles Alive: Get Back
The Punk Rock Movie: Out of the Blue on Blu-ray
Yeah, Too Quiet: The Great Silence on Blu-ray
Vestron Double Bill: Dementia 13 and The Wraith
Farewell Dean Stockwell: His Years of Weirdness
Kung Fu Craft: Cinematic Vengeance! on Blu-ray
999 Letsbe Avenue: Gideon's Way on Blu-ray
Hungary for Cartoons: Hungarian Animations on MUBI
You Have No Choice: Invasion of the Body Snatchers on Blu-ray
You Can't Tame What's Meant to Be Wild: The Howling on Blu-ray
Commendably Brief: Short Sharp Shocks Vol. 2 on Blu-ray
Super Silents: Early Universal Vol. 2 on Blu-ray
Fable Fear: The Singing Ringing Tree on Blu-ray
Gunsight Eyes: The Sabata Trilogy on Blu-ray
Bloody Bastard Baby: The Monster/I Don't Want to Be Born on Blu-ray
Night of the Animated Dead: Director Jason Axinn Interview
The ParaPod: A Very British Ghost Hunt - Interview with Director/Star Ian Boldsworth
On the Right Track: Best of British Transport Films Vol. 2
The Guns of Nutty Joan: Johnny Guitar on Blu-ray
Intercourse Between Two Worlds: Twin Peaks Fire Walk with Me/The Missing Pieces on Blu-ray
Enjoy the Silents: Early Universal Vol. 1 on Blu-ray
Masterful: The Servant on Blu-ray
   
 
  Soul Man Disguise In Love
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: ComedyBuy from Amazon
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 3380 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 probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Jason Cook
Enoch Sneed
  Desbris M
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
   

 

Last Updated: