Soul Man (1986)
Movie InfoAn ambitious but spoiled rich white kid wins a scholarship to Harvard Law School by pretending to be African-American in this broadly played comedy. After his father cuts him off financially, Mark Watson (C. Thomas Howell) wins a full tuition scholarship to Harvard by claiming to be African-American on the application form. With the help of his best friend, Gordon (Arye Gross), Mark acquires some bronzing pills, a new hairdo, and a lowered voice. Disguised as a black student, Mark thinks that he's going to breeze through the program. The reality of being a minority at a mostly white institution quickly catches up to him, however, when he encounters some tacit racism and falls for Sarah Walker (Rae Dawn Chong), a fellow student whose affection makes him feel guilty about his ruse. Then there's the imperious Professor Banks (James Earl Jones), an African-American instructor who expects him to perform at a higher level than the other students. Soul Man was written by Carol Black and directed by Steve Miner, who would collaborate again for the popular television series The Wonder Years (1988-1993). … More
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Critic Reviews for Soul Man
This social farce is excellently written, fast paced and intelligently directed.
It's a blithe, silly, good-natured movie and, of its kind, quite an enjoyable one.
Of course, simply everyone is completely bamboozled by our hero's disguise, even though he now looks like a Ken doll with liver disease.
This is a genuinely interesting idea, filled with dramatic possibilities, but the movie approaches it on the level of a dim-witted sit-com.
Howell is awesome in this unforgettable comedy classic
The comedy was out of date before they even made this, no matter how much they try and twist the ending.
Unreal, politically dumb premise with Howell in blackface .
Ultimately its refusal to tackle any real issues makes this a thoroughly bland American comedy.
Audience Reviews for Soul Man
Yeah, it's bad, and kind of racist, but I think it's probably well intentioned, just done badly. It has that bad 80's kind of appeal.
Wanted to hate it, but just couldn't.
It?s another classic 80's film. The film I think is innocent enough, unintentionally offensive maybe but not racist. Anyone seen White Chicks? No, because it looks shit but I hear no complaints!More
"Soul Man" is an embarrassing movie that somehow manages to be simultaneously intentionally and unintentionally racist. C. Thomas Howell plays a pampered rich kid whose parents cut him off just as he's been accepted to Harvard law school. He takes an overdose of "tanning" pills and voila! he's african american! Add to that a cheap afro wig, and he's gets a fully paid scholarship reserved for african american students. C. Thomas really doesn't look ethnic at all though, he just looks like a guy in blackface. Not alot of laughs in this movie, either intentional or post-ironic, it's just sort of average (although the sight of 90 lb C. Thomas punching out two guys who go FLYING across the room is pretty entertaining- what was it about punching a guy in the 80s that caused him to go flying 20 feet across a building?). A completely pedestrian waste of time.More
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