Lackawanna Blues (2005) - Rotten Tomatoes

Lackawanna Blues (2005)

Lackawanna Blues (2005)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

A young boy grows up among a makeshift family of oddballs and dreamers in this adaptation of Ruben Santiago-Hudson's acclaimed one-man show. Ruben Junior (Marcus Carl Franklin) is a young boy who was born in the late '40s into a family that started crumbling not long after he was born. Ruben Junior's parents were from Lackawanna, a city in Upstate New York, and were living in a rooming house run by Nanny Crosby (S. Epatha Merkerson), whose place was a hub for the local African-American community. When Ruben Junior's parents split up, he and his mother return to Lackawanna and Nanny's rooming house; with mother overworked physically and in sad shape emotionally, Nanny takes Ruben Junior under her wing, and offers him the sort of nurturing she gives all her boarders. Nanny's house is full of people struggling for a fresh start in life, ranging from former convicts to recovering drug addicts, and she opens both her doors and her heart to them as they strive to make themselves better people. Ruben Junior finds a loving home amidst the colorful eccentrics in Nanny's circle of friends, but as America changes over the course of the 1950s and '60s, so does the neighborhood where Nanny and her tenants live -- and not for the better. Produced for the premium cable network HBO, Lackawanna Blues features a stellar supporting cast, including Delroy Lindo, Louis Gossett Jr., Rosie Perez, Jimmy Smits, Jeffrey Wright, Mos Def, and Ernie Hudson.


S. Epatha Merkerson
as Rachel `Nanny' Crosby
Hill Harper
as Ruben Santiago Jr. (as a man)
Marcus Carl Franklin
as Ruben Santiago Jr. (as a boy)
Jimmy Smits
as Ruben Santiago Sr.
Louis Gossett Jr
as Lem Taylor
Macy Gray
as Pauline
Ernie Hudson
as Dick Barrymore
Barry Shabaka Henley
as Shakey Winfield
Yasiin Bey
as Bandleader
Robert A. Bradley
as Otis McClanahan
Delroy Lindo
as Mr. Luscious
Ruben Santiago-Hudson
as Freddie Cobbs
Jeffrey Wright
as Small Paul
Liev Schreiber
as Ulysses Fold
Kathleen Chalfant
as Mrs. Carmichael
Patricia Wettig
as Laura's mother
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Lackawanna Blues

Critic Reviews for Lackawanna Blues

All Critics (7) | Top Critics (1)

It's a wonderful lead performance.

January 31, 2005
Ebert & Roeper
Top Critic

Everyone's efforts were sadly wasted.

August 26, 2005
Film Threat

Bursting at the seams with talented performers, no one misses a beat, conjuring up an atmosphere so vivid, you can taste it.

Full Review… | February 19, 2005
Eye for Film

An invigorating movie full of sexual energy.

Full Review… | February 11, 2005

Audience Reviews for Lackawanna Blues


This movie has a lot of heart and makes me wish I had a "Nanny"!

Sarah Prisbylla
Sarah Prisbylla

Super Reviewer


I LOVED this movie!! S. Epatha Merkerson was a great matriarch in this film, loved Macy Gray, loved everyone in this film!!

Remi Logan
Remi Logan

Super Reviewer

It was clear that was based on a much richer story, but still a decent watch. I hated the quick-cut editing, but will let that slide.

Dan Wolcott
Dan Wolcott

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