October 20, 2000 at 04:00 AM EDT

The Fisher King

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
R
runtime
137 minutes
performer
Jeff Bridges, Robin Williams, David Hyde Pierce, Amanda Plummer, Mercedes Ruehl
director
Terry Gilliam
distributor
TriStar Pictures
author
Paule Marshall
genre
Comedy, Drama, Sci-fi and Fantasy
We gave it a B+

Paule Marshall’s haunting novel about the Brooklyn family of a black jazz musician who left home to find fame in Paris, The Fisher King, sneaks up on you like a deceptively simple tune that’s impossible to forget. It’s actually a complicated story of ambition, disappointment, love, and betrayal — one that moves easily back and forth in time, and all the more astonishing for being seen through the eyes of an 8-year-old Parisian boy, the grandson and namesake of pianist Sonny-Rett Payne. Little Sonny and his caretaker Hattie are lured from Paris, ”a city nearly always in tears,” back to Brooklyn for a memorial concert in honor of the boy’s grandfather. There Sonny finds himself acting as a go-between for his two warring great-grandmothers while the family tries to heal long-festering wounds. The revelations unfold without fanfare, but each note rings true. B+

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