A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Although they love each other, the family fights ferociously. Walter longs for a better life for himself, but even surrounded by three strong women, he is still the man of the family; he has final say in all decisions and believes women want little out of life for themselves.
Violence & Scariness
A slap in the face.
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Walter asks asks why college boys wear " those faggoty white shoes."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that kids will be exposed to the prevailing overt prejudices of the early 1960s, against both minorities and women. Walter, the main character drinks in despair. Also, kids might have a hard time warming up to the stark black and white cinematography, the dialogue-heavy scenes left mostly intact from the play, and the single set, the families' apartment. However, this is one of the earliest movies to feature an all-African American cast and it addresses themes that remain relevant today, including the struggles of minorities (and in some part women, too) to attain the "great American dream." To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Sidney Poitier leads a terrific ensemble. Adapted from Lorraine Hansberry's Pulitzer prize-winning stage play in which a Black family dreams of a better life, A RAISIN IN THE SUN is one of the earliest movies to feature a cast of all-Black characters. While teens may find it initially forbidding, they are sure to be swept up in the intensity of the struggle as the movie explores big moral themes. Walter and his family argue about ethically acceptable means of getting ahead in life. They argue about whether God or man is responsible for mankind's achievements. Walter's sister is on a quest for her African identity. Like everyone in the family, the sister wants much out of life -- she wants to be a doctor -- and doesn't give up, even when her own family tells her that, as a Black woman, she should settle for less. No one in this story ever gives up.
This is not the easiest movie for children to embrace. It's shot in stark black and white, and clearly shows its theatrical heritage. Set in one apartment, the highly-emotional dialogue-heavy scenes are protracted and require more concentration than most contemporary movies. If kids give it a chance, though, the story will grab them and not let go. One 11-year-old boy fidgeted at first, but eventually got caught up in the exciting tale. He loved the African drumming and dancing scene, and he definitely understood that the white "welcoming committee" was anything but. Still, preteens are a bit young; the movie will play better to teenagers.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.