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Lackawanna Blues
Lackawanna Blues
Actors: S. Epatha Merkerson, Marcus Carl Franklin, Mos Def, Carmen Ejogo, Bill Simms Jr.
Director: George C. Wolfe
Genres: Drama, Television
PG-13     2005     1hr 35min

Based on the award winning play by Ruben Santiago-Hudson, this poignant and colorful drama tells the inspirational story of a courageous woman, Nanny, whose spirit and strength served as the foundation for a struggling com...  more »

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Movie Details

Actors: S. Epatha Merkerson, Marcus Carl Franklin, Mos Def, Carmen Ejogo, Bill Simms Jr.
Director: George C. Wolfe
Creators: Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Ivan Strasburg, Halle Berry, Nellie Nugiel, Shelby Stone, Vince Cirrincione
Genres: Drama, Television
Sub-Genres: Drama, All Made-for-TV Movies
Studio: Hbo Home Video
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen - Closed-captioned,Dubbed,Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 08/23/2005
Original Release Date: 02/12/2005
Theatrical Release Date: 02/12/2005
Release Year: 2005
Run Time: 1hr 35min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 1
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Languages: English, Spanish
Subtitles: English, Spanish, French

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Movie Reviews

Quite Simply, Exquisite!!!!!
Raider Jack | San Francisco, CA United States | 03/28/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Ever since I first encountered the Divine Ms Merkerson as a sex therapist in Spike Lee's "She's Gotta Have It" I have been sold on the range of this exceedingly gifted yet terribly underrated actress. She received an Emmy for her portrayal here and to say it is well-deserved is a masterpiece of understatement.

Here she simply shines as THE guiding force and hand in her community. This was especially poignant for me for I grew up in this very same time period. The production detail was phenomenal and evoked wooooooooooooooonderful memories of life and times during the 50s & 60s and of women like Ms Merkerson portrayed. She was thoroughly and ably accompanied by a hot, hot cast with performances one would enjoy over and over again. I first saw Macy Gray's name in the credits and went ho-hum. Her performance was so good, I didn't even recognize her until about a 3rd of the way through. I am especially proud of the obvious care and attention to detail to produce a feel and look of another beautiful era in African-American culture that is very tastefully done.

Another very interesting aspect is that the project was less concerned with the racial fabric of the times but inifinitely more attuned to the richness of the characters and the emotional diversity they provide to exemplify that in the final analysis it is about the choices we make and to what extent we accept responsibility for those choices.

This is a worthy, elegant presentation of African-American life and is most assuredly destined to become a classic. You owe it to yourself to have this as part of your collection.

I highly recommend."
A Triumph on Every Level!
Grady Harp | Los Angeles, CA United States | 02/18/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"LACKAWANNA BLUES is a fine stage play by Ruben Santiago-Hudson and an even finer film as the author adapted his own life story for the screen. This brilliant film ignites the screen with rich colors, fine music, brilliant editing, superb direction by George C. Wolfe, and a cast so stunning that they make an encore viewing compulsory! Yes, it is just that good.

The story is based on the author's life as the child 'Junior' (Marcus Carl Franklin) raised in the inimitable home of soulfully empathetic Rachel "Nanny" Crosby (S. Epatha Merkerson),
a lady who devoted her life to aiding the disenfranchised by transporting them from the South, from mental hospitals, and from the streets to Lackawanna, New York. The boy recalls all the lessons he learned about life from the inhabitants of the house - odd characters with painful pasts - and from the disintegration of his racially mixed biological family rescued by Nanny. The myriad characters of the home are too numerous to outline but they are portrayed by some of the finest actors in the business: Terrence Howard, Rosie Perez, Mos Def, the beautiful Carmen Ejogo, Louis Gossett Jr., Jeffrey Wright, Ernie Hudson, Charlayne Woodward, Jimmy Smits, Patricia Wettig, Macy Gray, Liev Schreiber, Kathleen Chalfant, Lou Myers, Hill Harper - the list goes on and on.

In the course of the film we are introduced to the cruelties of racism, the history of desegregation, the dynamics of drug abuse and violence, the infectious joy of African American music contributions to our musical culture, and the courage of one fine woman who battled all the hardships the world can dish out to maintain the dignity of those with whom she came into contact. S. Epatha Merkerson is wholly submerged in this role, a role she makes shine like a beacon of reason in a world of chaos. She offers one of the most stunning performances of the past years, and had this film been released in the theaters instead of as an HBO movie, she without a doubt would add the Oscar to place along side her Golden Globe award.

The entire cast is exceptional and Wolfe handles the acting and the story like a master: like riffs in a jazz piece, he pastes tiny moments of conversation with each character and Junior along with flashes of scenes from the story with the matrix of dance fests at the local clubs brimming over the top with incredible blues, jazz, dancing, and joy. The production crew has mounted this little miracle of a picture with extreme care and never for a moment does attention lag from the momentum of the story. Highly Recommended, almost Compulsory Viewing! Grady Harp, February 06"
Lackawanna Blues
Thomas L. Clark | 01/19/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Excellent and brings back alot of memories. Actors performances were great. Most Black folks that migrated from the south to the north can relate to this movie. Families looking out for one another. Besides the pain and heartaches there was fun,style and encouragement to succeed or defying the odds. Reuben is to be commended for bringing this story to life. This is an American story and one that can be enjoyed by all.The blues express sadness and joy. I can say these things as I was born and raised in Lackawanna NY. This will be a classic."
Entertainment for cultued adults and those that need some wi
R. Rubio | california | 11/05/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Very moving, tender, tough ...right to the core..and the dance scenes are to die for. The length a parent(one remarkable woman) will go for the love of a child and all children and those adults she brings into her life and soul that are in NEED, rich or poor,good or mis-understood comes through... so well done. Shared with many of my closest friends,,,,,"