A Raisin in the Sun (2008) is just as palpable as it was in 1959 or 1961. There was a 1989 TV movie with Danny Glover, but that was technically part of the American Playhouse TV series. Though A Raisin in the Sun (2008) is also a TV movie, it was originally shown at Sundance before airing on ABC. This time it was me that saw part of this version in school. We learned about the original play, but I don’t recall finishing the movie. A Raisin in the Sun (2008) has the same cast as the 2004 Broadway revival. Similar to the 1961 film, except this version feels more like a movie than a play put to film.
The script is mostly the same, but there’s more white people, racial tension, and a bit more from the Younger family outside of their cramped apartment. We see Walter Lee interact with his chauffeur employer, we see Lena leaving her job as a maid, we see Ruth seriously contemplate losing her baby, we see Beneatha attend college classes, and we even see young Travis talk to the mailman delivering their check. I was familiar with everyone in the predominantly black cast. They even got Morgan Freeman to do brief narration.
Sean Combs has proven himself as a dramatic actor, but it’s still weird seeing him in a period setting. Sanaa Lathan and Audra McDonald are just as committed as Walter Lee’s sister and wife respectively. I’m not used to seeing Phylicia Rashad as a grandmother, but she gives her all to the part. There’s also Bill Nunn as Bobo, Ron Cephas Jones as Willy, and Sean Patrick Thomas as George. I was especially impressed with David Oyelowo as Beneatha’s African suitor Asagai. John Stamos is an interesting choice to play Lindner, but he manages to be unlikable. The message in A Raisin in the Sun (2008) is the same, just with a little added intensity and realism.
Remake of: A Raisin in the Sun (1961)
2 thoughts on “Something Better”
I remember when the remake came out back in the day, I forget where it was on, but I also remember thinking it couldn’t hold a candle to the original. I like Phylicia Rashad a lot and Sean Combs was a nice surprise as an actor, but how can you top talent like Sydney Poitier, Ruby Dee, etc., in the original. John Stamos as an unlikable guy is an interesting and daring choice indeed.
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I guess it’s not as obscure as I thought.