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Critics had a whole lot less than a truckload of good loving for this woefully misguided take on race in '80s America. Read critic reviews

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Movie Info

In order to win a scholarship, Mark Watson (C. Thomas Howell), the white son of an affluent psychiatrist, pretends to be black on his application form. When he's accepted, he alters his hair, skin and speech to conceal his true identity. At first Mark believes that going through law school as a minority will be a breeze, but he soon begins experiencing racism. Eventually, Mark falls in love with Sarah Walker (Rae Dawn Chong), a black student, and begins to feel guilty about his ruse.

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Critic Reviews for Soul Man

All Critics (23) | Top Critics (6) | Fresh (3) | Rotten (20)

Audience Reviews for Soul Man

  • Mar 23, 2016
    Some of the scenes in the film where funny and overall the film wasn't boring or unwatchable. Taking pills that make your skin darker so that you can qualify for a university isn't terrible, but acting like a total jerk to other people once you're black is and it's also a little bit racist. Although I don't think it was intentional, it was still racist. The poster says " A comedy with a heart and soul. "...really?
    Tarin P Super Reviewer
  • Mar 21, 2010
    This has got to be one of the most underestimated 80's movies around! Whatever happened to C. Thomas Howell? Criminal Minds TV?? He needs to be back doing films like this! Very funny moments in this and James Earl Jones is pricelss as well as I hate to say it Arye Gross?? I usually hate him but he was funny! Rae Dong Chongs really only good movie! Even Leslie Neilsen and Julia Louis Dreyfus did well in this classic!
    Matthew L Super Reviewer
  • Feb 20, 2009
    "Soul Man" is an embarrassing movie that somehow manages to be simultaneously intentionally and unintentionally racist. C. Thomas Howell plays a pampered rich kid whose parents cut him off just as he's been accepted to Harvard law school. He takes an overdose of "tanning" pills and voila! he's african american! Add to that a cheap afro wig, and he's gets a fully paid scholarship reserved for african american students. C. Thomas really doesn't look ethnic at all though, he just looks like a guy in blackface. Not alot of laughs in this movie, either intentional or post-ironic, it's just sort of average (although the sight of 90 lb C. Thomas punching out two guys who go FLYING across the room is pretty entertaining- what was it about punching a guy in the 80s that caused him to go flying 20 feet across a building?). A completely pedestrian waste of time.
    Devon B Super Reviewer
  • Oct 26, 2008
    Yeah, it's bad, and kind of racist, but I think it's probably well intentioned, just done badly. It has that bad 80's kind of appeal. Wanted to hate it, but just couldn't.
    Nicki M Super Reviewer

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