Soul Food (1997)

Soul Food (1997)

A warm comedy-drama celebrating the African-American family and their traditions

7.7

Movie

United States of America
English, Italian
Comedy, Drama
1997
GEORGE TILLMAN JR.
Brandon Hammond, Gina Ravera, Irma P. Hall
114 min

What it's about

Traditional Sunday dinners at Mama Joe's (Irma P. Hall) turn sour when sisters Teri (Vanessa L. Williams), Bird (Nia Long) and Maxine (Vivica A. Fox) start bringing their problems to the dinner table in this ensemble comedy. When tragedy strikes, it's up to grandson Ahmad (Brandon Hammond) to pull the family together and put the soul back into the family's weekly gatherings.

The take

Warm and nourishing as the film's cuisine, Soul Food is a celebration of the modern African-American family, represented here by the Josephs. The Chicagoan family has a longstanding tradition of making dinner together every Sunday—a ritual, we’re told, that's lasted for at least 40 years. However, when the matriarch Big Mama Joe gets hospitalized, the simmering tension between her daughters boils over and threatens to break them apart. Many of the struggles they go through are familiar but not cliché, as writer-director George Tillman Jr. draws from his own experiences in a close-knit, extended family. So even if some plot lines feel unresolved, the film is well-paced, soulfully scored, and evenly balanced between the three sisters. Like the food cooked on-screen, this movie will still leave you hungering for more.

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