Native Son (1986)
Average Rating: 6/10
Reviews Counted: 9
Fresh: 5 | Rotten: 4
No consensus yet.
Average Rating: N/A
Critic Reviews: 4
Fresh: 1 | Rotten: 3
Average Rating: 3.4/5
User Ratings: 134
Previously filmed in Argentina in 1951, black author Richard Wright's powerful race-conscious novel Native Son was remade in this barely released 1986 version. The story involves Bigger Thomas (Victor Love), an angry Depression-era Chicago black who hopes to elevate himself through his chauffeur's job with a prosperous white Gold Coast family. The family's daughter (Elizabeth McGovern) takes advantage of Bigger's servile status by ordering him to drive her to a rendezvous with her
Dec 12, 1986 Wide
Live Home Video
Willard E. Pugh
White Man #3
White Man #4
George D. Wallace
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The film makers haven't listened to Wright. They appear to have been aiming at the same genteel audience that insists on seeing something sentimental and upbeat even in a television movie-of-the-week about AIDS.
Transforms the novel into an all-too-genteel crime story, denuded of rage, devoid of social and historic context.
Unfortunately, drama translates as melodrama and speechy, preachy dialogue tells us we're watching something that's good for us.
The movie understands that the story really is about the killer's point of view. It is not the story of a crime, not a docudrama, not a sociological essay.
Ultimately, the film fails because of Silver's fears of offending the audience, the same fear that Wright himself faced and overcame.
Well-intended but deadly dull
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