A Man Named Pearl Reviews
"You can be somebody." - Pearl Fryar
It's a true pleasure to gander at these vast topiary gardens which are truly artistic, original and abstract, revealing a truly innate talent and an immense labor-of-love. Even more of a pleasure when it is revealed that Pearl's had no formal training, used no reference materials and gathered all the raw material for free from the 'scrap heaps' of local nurseries.
But by twenty-five minutes in, when the directors slow down on eyeballing the gardens and instead waste celluloid visiting the soda-can factory where Pearl works, it's clear they're going to lose all sense of focus.
There's endless off-point babbling praise (albeit well earned) by everyone and anyone: the pastor of Pearl's church, the good-ol-boy that runs the Chamber of Commerce (feet up on his desk), art professors from neighboring small colleges.
At thirty minutes in, the viewer follows Pearl to the local Waffle House to learn EXACTLY how he likes his eggs and toast.
Most viewers will be wanting to see far more topiary and Pearl (who's probably even more interesting than this film reveals) - and far less of such talking heads and irrelevant content.
It is unfortunate that the filmmakers didn't just focus the camera far more on the man and his product, let him show his work, explain his accomplishments, tell his own story.
Also unfortunate is that the film continually drives home the point that all this was accomplished by 'a black man,' 'the son of sharecropper' and so forth - as if such people should normally be expected to be less able of outstanding accomplishment.
RECOMMENDATION: Google up pictures and websites to satisfy your curiosity - then use your time to watch other films.