Da 5 Bloods
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I May Destroy You
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I found it too hard to pull for its characters.
Most, if not all, believe this movie is a reflection of poor, black Americans in the early 70s. I have news for you, this movie is a reflection of ALL poor Americans in the early 70s. Look beyond ethnicity to see the story being told. Which is, being poor and living on the other side of the tracks is a criminal sentence of its own. Unless you're corporate welfare, then we readily open our wallets.
In 1974 only three African-American actresses had been nominated for Best Picture but Diahann Carroll would become just the fourth actress to achieve this feat for her performance in this film. While I am all for representation I can't say that I would have nominated Carroll as although she is perfectly fine in her role there are several false moments in her performance and she is never completely convincing. I would have preferred to have seen Ana María Picchio nominated for her performance in The Truce (1974) or even Blythe Danner in Lovin' Molly (1974) but Carroll isn't one of the worst nominees of the 1970s she's just lackluster. The film itself never quite comes together as it's central romance is not compelling and the family drama is something we've all seen before.
Single mother of six Claudine Price, Diahann Carroll, must work as a cleaner and receive welfare payments in order to support herself and her children. She must hide the fact that she works from social workers because if they discover this fact they will not provide her with the same amount of money and she will struggle to raise her children. She falls in love with rubbish collector Rupert Marshall, James Earl Jones, who pays child support to various mothers across the country but her children are hostile towards him. Marshall agrees to marry Price and the children begin to warm to him but he abandons them when he is ordered to pay higher child support payments. Eventually Price's eldest son Charles, Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs, tracks down Marshall and convinces him to return to his mother with whom he reconciles.
The opening scenes of the film show some promise as we are introduced to a flustered mother trying her hardest to support her children but when her ‘romance' with Marshall begins, in the first 15 minutes of the film, we feel a certain amount of dread. Jones is a fine actor and gives a decent performance in the otherwise dreadful Field of Dreams (1989) but as a romantic leading man he flounders lacking the humor of Tom Hanks or the suaveness of Henry Fonda. He and Carroll lack chemistry and most of their scenes together feature dialogue that feels like a knock-off of The Goodbye Girl (1977). We don't particularly care when Marshall runs off and abandons this family as the anguish that Price felt when previous husbands left her is never really set up and we don't enjoy our time spent with the two characters. Unlike the aforementioned 1977 film this movie's conclusion is disappointing as the two get married and then playfully jump onto the back of a police vehicle. What should be fun and euphoric feels flat and dull, we never really knew these characters and so their marriage means very little to us.
The film, billed as a romantic "comedy", fails to wring any laughs out of it's subject matter as we are meant to titter at the children hurriedly hiding their possessions from the social worker but this isn't enough, in the era of Blazing Saddles (1974), to inspire even a half-grin. The exchanges between Marshall and Price have little charge to them and the attempts to establish any sort of flirty banter between them fails. When the film tries to be serious it is equally unsuccessful as it skirts the issues it focuses on and is rather obvious when it does dare to make the occasional statement. If the film suggests that single mothers should receive more money from the government then it should have addressed this more clearly instead of letting us hear a sassy social worker yell at Price over her decision to have a boyfriend. Romantic comedies that address social issues are not rare as Down With Love (2003) addresses sexism and Goodbye Again (1961) addresses ageism but this film doesn't have the originality or charm of those classics.
I wouldn't recommend seeing this film despite the talent involved as Carroll and Jones are not enough to propel the film forward and the screenplay is subpar. If you are looking for a great romantic comedy centered around African-Americans watch The Best Man (1999) which features great performances and hilarious gags.
Claudine is an excellent film. It is about a garbage collector who feels intimidated by the idea of dating Claudine who is a single mother of six. Diahann Carroll and James Earl Jones give amazing performance. The script is good but a little slow in places. John Berry did a great job directing this movie. I enjoyed watching this motion picture because of the drama and romance.
Great movie!!! I love that it tackled many social issues plaguing the black community!!! The acting was great as well!!! I love ANYTHING Diahann Carroll is in!!! She’s one of my favorite actresses!!!
Admirable for the time, but dated and even infuriating now. Claudine has too many kids she can't afford to feed and raise. She's been flirting with a garbage man but only finds out his name after accepting a date. On the first date she's had sex with him (no concern or mention of a condom or birth control so she is highly likely to add to her problems) leaves all her kids alone all night, and we're supposed to sympathize with her. It makes even a confirmed liberal like me go all republican on her.
Great movie that explores and critiques the evils of the welfare system; haven't seen another movie like it and it is understandable if you know what welfare has done to the black family structure.
A great showcase for both James Earl Jones and Diahann Carroll. Both have tremendous chemistry together and when the sparks fly they fly off the walls. I believe it is Tamu who was also a stand out as Claudine's daughter. It is a bit claustrophobic mainly taking place in the apartment but the performances are so great you will hardly notice. Great writing as well
Excellent Allstar cast regarding the hardship of a single mom in the ghetto
this is a half and half review of the movie
it depends on how you want to look at it from a historical point of view in terms of how the 1970's saw African Americans in cinema
among 'Shaft', 'Black Dynamite', and many others 'Claudine' had the right intentions
it wasn't well-received by the public when it came out but it did try
the movie itself I didn't find that bad to watch but I did pay attention to certain things
the film mainly deals with feminism and masculinity with both Diahann Carroll and James Earl Jones in NYC
it's a fascinating role reversal to have Claudine as the mother take up more of the responsibility since she has 6 kids and hoping for a husband to come along the way to make it easier
she appears to be more of the 'man' of the house taking care of her family, working to make ends meet and being concerned
Jones as Roop, the garbage man who takes a liking to her is dealing with a lot; he's much less of a man being insecure, "castrated" in a manner of speaking by having to deal with the fact of being a father, not making any money, having his employment terminated
it raises a lot of questions of who's more manly the black woman or black man, what makes a man truly a man, is one more masculine than the other, is stuff like money enough to consider manhood?
the movie goes back and forth between the racial stereotypes trying to clearly define it all
the kids even get a lot of development in the midst of the Black Power Movement going on
one feels invisible, one has shed his manhood and another has accepted the fact that black men have contributed a lot to society
the social commentary is there focusing on issues such as race, welfare, equal rights, masculinity, femininity which I admired
the themes like family, marriage and the community is also addressed
but the focus is more on the two leads, their romance and deciding who's fit to say what they're identity is
so you see it is a mixed bag because it's not a realistic portrayal of blacks in the time period but at the same time isn't Blaxploitation
it's up to you to choose whether or not the film succeeds what it's doing