A Patch of Blue - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

A Patch of Blue Reviews

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January 1, 2018
(First and only viewing - 6/14/2017)
September 10, 2017
One of my favorite movies. It is flawless and full of meaning, the opposite of a typical Hollywood movie. There are no clichés or formulas followed. Every step is unpredictable before it happens, yet so real as it unfolds, it doesn't feel like a movie at all. In 1965, a black man (Sidney Poitier) happens upon a blind young white woman (Elizabeth Hartman), who lives with an abusive mother (Shelly Winters) and drunken grandfather (Wallace Ford). The range of emotions goes from heartbreaking to rapturous. You don't need to know any more than that it's well worth watching, and rewatching.
August 12, 2017
Such a great film! It exemplifies kindness in the face of adversity, which is something everyone could use a little more of. And you can never go wrong with anything that Sidney Poitier is in!
½ March 5, 2017
For the most part, it is a fine film. Great performance from Elizabeth Hartman. Yes its dated but not in a bad way. But it in no way deserves this high overall rating. My real problem with it is Shelley Winters. She recieved a most undeserved Oscar for this. She plays it as a one dimensional horrid comic book character. She is allowed to be so over the top that parts of it are almost laughable (when she confronts Sidney Poitier at the end). If the writing and directing only let her be fully developed human being, with nuances and depth. Cartoon villians are easy to play.
½ February 22, 2017
Pretty good despite being predictable.
½ September 3, 2016
I'm suppose to watch a Raisin in the Sun, but I found this-a really lucky accident. I love how empowered,graceful and in charge Sidney Poitier's character is in this movie. I've read one article that suggested many would view the ending as obvious and corny, but I feel that is very rushed and inaccurate judgment. I feel they do mention some underlying issues, but should have touched more upon them, but the story is rich none the less. I implore you to see it on your own!
½ January 21, 2016
I've long had a fondness for interracial relationships depicted in films largely because I feel that not only are they an unsung element in Hollywood films, but they also show often show a relationship comprised of two people needing to go the extra mile to make everything work. That includes overcoming obvious societal prejudices and potential opposition from both parties of the family members. The result, if it can survive a plethora of turbulence, both unforeseen and foreseen, could end up being a very meaningful relationship that really tests limits, at the same times, sanctions a bond that can, in turn, be incorruptible.

Such a bond is portrayed in A Patch of Blue, a wonderfully meaningful romantic film that is as sad as it is lovable. Infatuated with its characters, so much so that it's unafraid to show them at their best and worst, the film follows Selina D'Arcey (Elizabeth Hartman), a young blind girl living with her prostitute mother Rose-Ann (Shelley Winters) and her alcoholic grandfather Pa (Wallace Ford) in a cramped urban apartment. Her job is to string beads together in order to contribute to her family's meager income, which she does when she's not doing her chores.

Selina's life is confined to the physical abuse (which lead to her being blind after a fight with her mother and grandfather turned brutal) and verbal torment, rarely leaving the apartment unless she begs a local man to take her to the park, where she can enjoy fresh air and sunshine. She winds up striking an agreement with Pa to allow her to spend her days in the park if she can string many beads together. One day while sitting in the park, she meets Gordon Ralf (Sidney Poitier), a black office worker who Selina claims "sounds like the radio." Selina takes a liking to Gordon's soft-spoken and calm nature, as he simply sits and talks to her, and the two wind up spending days on end drinking pineapple juice with Gordon acclimating her to the bustle of the city streets.

An utterly adorable scene comes when Gordon takes Selina shopping and has her ride on the front of his shopping cart, racing her down aisles of soup, detergent, and ice cream, picking out her favorites and reading her the labels, essentially giving her the grand tour of a supermarket. These are the wholesome and endearing scenes in a film that doesn't feel the need to incessantly win its audience over by harping on the love these two characters obviously feel for one another, nor does it need to embellish mawkishness with empty orchestration playing over passionate lovemaking.

Obviously, race is a large element in A Patch of Blue, but it's actually amazing how director Guy Green and cinematographer Robert Burks cleverly downplay that narrative element. Being the film is shot in black and white, and being that color film was widely available, this was undoubtedly a conscious decision, Burks does a nice job of not lingering on Gordon's blackness and Green, who also serves as the film's writer, does a nice job of constantly emphasizing that these two individuals come from widely different backgrounds. Even given the time this film was made, 1965, where America was deeply invested in furthering the civil rights movement, this film never feels the need to play on the subversion of its story, and simply regards this as a love story between two people.

Now, to state the obvious once more, this is because of Selina's blindness. This story would be very different if Selina could see, as her mother and grandfather's conservative view of black people would've made her simply turn the other cheek had she actually seen Gordon in the park that day. For that matter, if she could see, Gordon wouldn't have ever needed to stop and see her in the first place; she would've been keeping to herself, or maybe even have sneered at him, leading Gordon to internalize his notions of tolerance once again.

Regardless, Green handles this potentially challenging and divisive film like it's no challenge at all. The screenplay is gifted with such talent on both the leading and supporting ends, with Hartman carrying much of the film's weight on her shoulders as she creates a believable character, and Poitier being constantly likable and amiable in his presence in Selina's life and as a soul with a great deal on his mind, as well. For that matter, the sassy and mean-spirited Hartman and the utterly incorrigible Ford give the most contemptible performances that I've seen from this era, and transcend the conventional ideas of supporting roles based on how much they can infuriate the viewer.

A Patch of Blue is a wonderful romance film; I'd even go as far as to say that it's better than Poitier's most renowned film, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner. It's deeper, more predicated on honest emotion, and effectively handles race because it doesn't make it the core of the film in a discernibly obvious way. It's just present enough to make you think, but just subtle enough to make you forget, and therein lies the delicate beauty of such a romantic and earnest film.

Starring: Elizabeth Hartman, Sidney Poitier, Shelley Winters, and Wallace Ford. Directed by: Guy Green.
August 30, 2015
amazing performances r the fuel to propell this one year s/b 1965 not 2000
July 9, 2015
One of the most beautiful and warming love stories of all time.
April 26, 2015
A beautiful film with wonderful performances from Sidney Poitier, Shelley Winters, and Elizabeth Hartman. Beautiful score, screenplay, and cinematography.
March 28, 2015
It's really rare that a movie makes you truly feel every emotional high and low within it. But "A Patch of Blue," spurred on by Elizabeth Hartman's masterfully moving performance, Sidney Poitier's eloquent dignity, and Jerry Goldsmith's touching, exhilarating score, does exactly that. It's the story of a horribly abused young blind woman who experiences joy--and love--for the first time thanks to the kindness of a stranger who she doesn't realize is black. Her foul-mouthed terror of a mother (Shelley Winters), however, does, which... to say it causes tension is a wrenching understatement. Our adrenaline pumps when Poitier jovially pushes a giddy Hartman through the supermarket on the front of a shopping cart; our hearts plummet when she scatters her beads on the ground in a park (stringing them is how she provides for her lazy, spiteful mother and alcoholic, apathetic grandfather). It's all touchingly filmed in black-and-white, a clever but subtle stylistic choice that doesn't allow us to "see" too much of the detail of this woman's world. If I have one complaint, it's that Winters' character never gets a single moment of validating humanity--she's evil through and through. That was good enough to win her the Oscar at the time, though, and her performance is, as far as one-dimensional characters go, exceptional. And the other performances--particuarly Hartman and, of course, Poitier--hold up remarkably well fifty years later. If you can't get past the idea of terrible things happening to innocent characters, you won't be able to stand this movie (it's that effective). But if you're looking for powerful entertainment that shows things most similar movies only awkwardly say, this one's definitely for you.
March 8, 2015
Another wonderful movie starring Sidney Poitier. Such a beautiful story of a love that goes beyond race and appearance of a person.
½ October 18, 2014
It's wonderful to have a friend...

Great, incredibly moving story. A story of neglect and caring, and how friendship spans divides of race and ability.

Incredibly suffocating at times, as you feel for Selina's (the blind girl's) plight, how incredibly abusive and neglectful her mother and grandfather are, and how they have left her disadvantaged. This pressure us palpably relieved every time she is with Gordon. The difference is so stark it is beautiful and moving.

There are also touches of commentary on racial issues but these are mostly left as a secondary plot. Thankfully so. While the commentary was justified and relevant, making more of it would have detracted from the main story.

Sidney Poitier gives his usual solid, polished performance in the lead role. The stand-out performance, however, is Elizabeth Hartman as Selina. So convincing I thought she was actually blind (she isn't). Well-deserved her Best Actress Oscar nomination and unlucky not to win the award.

Shelley Winters got a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her performance as Rose-Ann, the evil mother. A good performance from her, playing parental neglect personified.

A must-see.
September 30, 2014
What a beautiful movie. Would like to see a modern day version of this.
September 2, 2014
Thought provoking and well acted. A treat to see
July 20, 2014
Excellent, such a gem....
May 7, 2014
A wonderfully realized twist on the adage that love is blind. And given when it was made, something of a cinematic breakthrough.
May 1, 2014
a very well done, interesting flim. it has a lot of emotion and impact. such sensitive subject matter at the time makes me like the film all the more.
Super Reviewer
January 31, 2014
Another in a series of race films starring Sidney Poitier. Here we have a literal example of being colour blind. Although Poitier often returns to the same theme in his films, his charm makes them equally memorable.
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