Parents' Guide to

Sounder (1972)

By S. K. List, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 12+

A strong family triumphs over poverty and racism.

Movie G 1972 105 minutes
Sounder (1972) Poster Image

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Community Reviews

age 9+

Based on 1 parent review

age 9+

Use in a classroom to compare book to movie **Language Review**

We finished reading Sounder and I found this movie online. I had scanned the assessment of language and sent the letter home to parents with that information. It isn't accurate. There are several words that aren't TERRIBLE by today's standards, but are considered swear words. (Darn**, Heck**) The kids thought it was funny with the Kevin Bacon commercials.

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Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (1):
Kids say (2):

Sounder stands out as an honest celebration of a strong family's triumph over poverty and racism. Without sugar-coating the hard lives of black Louisiana sharecroppers, the Morgan family's enduring ties to each other set alight this film depicting the poverty, desperation, and bigotry of the rural South during the Great Depression. The movie's beautifully enhanced by the country blues of Lightnin' Hopkins and the hollers and rough-hewn cakewalks of the inimitable Taj Mahal (who appears as Ike). The transformation of svelte, elegant Cicely Tyson into the ragged, destitute Rebecca epitomizes the sharp contrast between the life most Americans lead and the back-breaking, desperate circumstances the Morgan family transcends.

Winfield and Tyson skillfully balance between the proud flash of individuality and the drab obsequious shell society demands. In support, a range of actors with real -- if largely unknown -- faces add to the film's authentic feel, including Kevin Hooks as a convincing David, whose attachment to his father is palpable. It takes an argument before Nathan can acknowledge that love and before David realizes that it is out of an equal love that his father urges him toward the faraway school. The other children on-screen are frequently wooden, a minor flaw in an otherwise excellent production. The hard, hot light of the rural South floods its scenes, revealing the depths of feeling that saw some families through such trials.

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