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Once Upon a Time...When We Were Colored

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Once Upon a Time...When We Were Colored

type:
Movie
Current Status:
In Season
mpaa:
PG
performer:
Phylicia Rashad, Richard Roundtree
genre:
Drama

We gave it a B-

By now, we’ve seen enough filmic depictions of black life in the pre-civil rights South to become cynical, but if the tale is to be told, we long for stronger characters and more compelling action. The sentimental memoir Once Upon a Time…When We Were Colored (adapted from Clifton Taulbert’s 1989 book), a tale of everyday life in Mississippi in the ’40s, at least delivers an unexpected simplicity. Owing a debt to Gordon Parks’ The Learning Tree, director Tim Reid aims his camera at the hard-won joys and abundant love of the extended black family, weaving together characters such as a proud iceman (Richard Roundtree), a religious auntie (Phylicia Rashad), and a knowing great-grandfather (Al Freeman Jr.). Although this approach isn’t flashy, it does cover some uncharted ground. B-

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