|L to R: Ruby Dee, Sidney Poitier, Claudia McNeil, Diana Sands|
A Raisin in the Sun (1961) will kick you in the guts and leave you weeping. Every time. Not only is it one of the first truly intelligent portrayals of the economic, excruciating, emotional, and psychological effects of racism on the target of such prejudice, but it also explores the cataclysm of generational shifts-- past, present, and future represented by a mother, her son, and her daughter. As each character searches for identity while battling their own versions of pride and hope, all start to succumb to the disease that praises a world of "takers" as well as their own prejudices, born of bitterness. The only solidarity found between them, for all their distinctive differences and independent ways, are the familial roots that bind them together and are strong enough to circumvent their loss of self and self-respect. A simple plot revolving around a check for $10,000 managed to cement this film as a priceless addition to the list of truly great movies. A sublime cast, a story with conscience, and a memory that will stay with you forever. Look for a young Louis Gossett, Jr. as well.