'the ultimate movie about the New York cult of class (Glamour), this rich and challenging cinematic treat (Playboy) is both a laugh-out-loud comedy and a biting social commentary about the separation between the 'haves ... more » and the 'have-nots. Will Smith gives a mightily impressive debut, Donald Sutherland is perfection and OscarĀ(r)-nominated* Stockard Channing moves from brilliance to somewhere above and beyond brilliance (CBS-TV) in a story that's all the more amazing because it's true! Posing as the son of Sidney Poitier, Paul (Smith) deftly penetrates the world of art-dealing urbanites Ouisa and Flan Kittredge (Channing and Sutherland). But as Paul's web of dropped names and near fame begins to unravel, he provides his hosts with much more than just theultimate cocktail party anecdotehe sets in motion a series of events that will alter the course of their lives forever. *1993: Actress« less
While this movie had enough shock and entertaining moments to keep me watching it in entirety(well truth was I was already committed after watching it an hour), I found parts of it just disturbing and bizarre. I just didn't get it. The moments where the college kids would scream and whine at their parents going on and on in a rant were just so uncomfortable to me - wasn't sure if it was supposed to be serious or funny but I found it unbelievable that people would rant like that one minute and be fine the next. I also didn't get the story telling that went on and everyone always being all ears, didn't seem like realistic social behavior to me -usually parties are more back and forth communication, not people all wanting to hear every tiny detail of story after story from one couple. Just a weird movie I guess.
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It's A Small World After All.
tvtv3 | Sorento, IL United States | 03/18/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"One night in a posh Manhattan apartment a young black man (Will Smith), appearing to be mugged enters the home of Flan (Donald Sutherland) and Ouisa Kittredge (Stockard Channing). The man who says his name is Paul, claims to be friends of the Kittredge children. Over the evening Paul flatters the couple and a buisness guest they are hosting with his exotic tales and fascinating life stories. However, things aren't always what they seem to be. Like the painting in the movie, what is chaotic on one side, may be controlled on the other and vice versa.This was the first major film breakthrough for Will Smith, proving that he isn't just the Fresh Prince of Bel Air and is a serious actor. Donald Sutherland does a superb job as the stuck-up art dealer who makes millions of dollars but spends more than he can make. However, the real star of the movie is Stockard Channing. Her performance is perfect and her portrayal of Ouisa's self-disovery, realization, and spiritual redemption could not have been better.SIX DEGREES OF SEPARATION has become a part of the American pop conscience (thanks largely to the Kevin Bacon game). However, the movie is much more than a pop cultural reference. It is a movie for the critical movie viewer. It explores questions of great magnitude and in the end, concludes on a comic, rather than tragic, note. It is a small world after all, just six degrees of separation."
The deep longing of the social classes
Ann Sieber | Houston, TX United States | 07/31/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Puzzling offhanded moody film. (Critique for those who have seen it, primarily.)
I was struck by what seemed the underlying assertion: the deep if unconscious longing of the divided social classes in our country for each other. The deep longing to heal the rift of "separation" -- the wealthy and the disenfranchised -- that the whole class system perpetuates through how people behave, who they associate with, who is considered desirable.
The rich couple and especially Stockard Channing's character of Louisa is caught up in an affluent world of witty pretentious empty existence -- one they are exceedingly skilled at, and are able to milk to good profit. When they meet Paul (Will Smith's character), they are drawn to his directness, his charm -- he is skilled at being relaxed and conversant in their cultured world, yet he lacks the pretense of the elder members or the (satirically exaggerated) spoiled disaffection of the younger members, their children. Both Louisa and her husband (the Donald Sutherland character) relish telling the story - and their friends seem undyingly riveted by it -- and Loisa especially tastes of a richness, a directness, a spark to life that she does not have.
Will Smith's character of Paul also longs for a life he does not have, their Upper East Side life. For the wealth, certainly, but also for the very real values of education, ideas, and that spark of art that is separate from the worldly commercial side of art's buying and selling. The slap that Louisa joyously gives to the hand of God in the Sistine Chapel.
Both sides are profoundly hurt by the rift, the gulf, that exists almost never to be crossed between Paul's ghetto and the Kittridges' beautiful penthouse. There may be a "mere" six degrees of separation between them - but as Louisa meditates, how to broach them? How to find the people that came connect you?
(In "Six Degrees" it is interesting and telling that it is the gay member of the set that serves as the crossover person, the means by which Paul can make his more profound crossover. Somehow, those who are owning-class gay stand with a foot in both worlds - they have a large degree of entree into the worldly affluent classes, yet they are also outcasts.)
As a comment outside the movie, it's my opinion that the class system is kept inexorably in place so that the wealthy might never have human relationships as equals with those whose labor they exploit, so as to avoid the pangs of conscience about benefiting unjustly from their labor. (One of Gandhi's seven root causes of injustice is: Wealth Without Work. In a just world, every person reaps the product of her or his own work; while to be wealthy, one generally must have people working for you from whom you derive some percentage profit of their work.) But while this may sound radical, my further belief is that not only does this system hurt the poor, it also hurts the wealthy in profound ways. They get the wonderful apartments and private access to the Kandinsky, but their lives are empty and they don't see a way out, they must keep going to the obligatory mannered dinner parties at the price of a life that feels rich and alive with imagination. "
A perfect 10
Manola Sommerfeld | California | 08/22/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The first scene is very confusing, and the next 20 minutes of movie a bit of a drag: the Kittredges are so unbearably affected! Later on, i came to realize how important those draggy moments were. This is a movie that got progressively better and better, and kept me engaged to the very end. In a nutshell: Flan (what a name!) and Ouisa Kittredge are art dealers living in posh East Side and are entertaining a guest when this young black man drops by their apartment, victim of muggers. He claims to be not only the son of Sidney Poitier, but also friends with the couple's children at Harvard. He is so well spoken, exotic, fascinating, flattering, that soon he has everyone in that apartment wrapped around his little finger. When you finally get to meet the children, you quickly understand the reason for that. Paul Poitier is a classy con-artist that makes people fall in love with him. For example, after explaining what his thesis is about (stolen by muggers), Flan Kittredge throws a passionate and outraged "I hope your robbers read every page of it!" It is impossible not to like him. After Paul does the rounds among the Kittredges' friends, he becomes cocktail party anecdote. Ouisa is the one who eventually admits how much she cares for this boy and becomes incredibly guilty for not having helped him enough. The best metaphor in the movie is represented by the Kandinski painting, the chaos-control canvas, because while on the surface it seems that Oiusa has her life under control with lots of money, powerful friends and poshy luxurious lifestyle, in fact she has another side where there is little sense of meaning. My biggest objection is the title music. Somehow that chintzy violin tune clashed with the story big time. The acting is magnificent, the NY shots beautiful, and there are some hilarious moments in the film, like the scene at The Rainbow Room. This movie is a 10, a must-see, a masterpiece. Don't miss it!"
Perhaps one of the BEST films of our time
firstname.lastname@example.org | 11/25/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Stockard Channing, Will Smith and Donald Sutherland are rivetting in this unusual and awe-inspiring film. This is Smith's best role in spite of being his least popular. The writing is so magnificent that the acting just flows. This is a must see for any ARTISTICALLY minded film lover. It is not, however, for anyone looking for a run-of-the-mill Will Smith film. In other words, you'll have to have a brain to enjoy it. :)"
Intelligent, Artistic and purposely meaningful.
email@example.com | I am where I am. | 03/02/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The ability to tame the imagination and in so doing to recreate our personal world: this is the point of Guare's adapted play. The film centers around two themes: the inevitable interconnectedness of mankind and the often untapped ability of everyone to create themselves, determine their fate. Wil Smith plays the saddeningly pathological 'Paul Poitier,' a young, black, inner-city youth stuck in a life that has led him nowhere until he finds 'the right people' to open the door to another world: the Kittridges. Stockard Channing's character, Weeza Kittridge, learns the beauty in Paul's deranged art and comes to understand the serious meaningless and 'collage' that her lack of imaginative participation has allowed her life to become. Everything means something. Everyone is a sign, a symbol, an opportunity, a 'door opening up to a new world.' " It's a profound thought.""