Release Date: 2/4/20; Blu-Ray (Original Theatrical Release Date: 5/13/94)
Director: Spike Lee
Studio(s): Universal Pictures, 40 Acres & A Mule Filmworks, Child Hood Productions, KL Studio Classics
Running Time: 115 mins.
Cast: Alfre Woodard (Carolyn Carmichael), Delroy Lindo (Woody Carmichael), Zelda Harris (Troy Carmichael), Carlton Williams (Clinton Carmichael), Sharif Rashed (Wendell Carmichael), Chris Knowings (Nate Carmichael), Tse-Mach Washington (Joseph Carmichael), Jesse Astro (Jesse Plasto), Jose Camel (Jose Rillo), David Patrick Kelly (Tony Eyes/Jim), José Zúñiga (Tommy La La), Isaiah Washington (Vic Powell), Spike Lee (Snuffy), N. Jeremi Duru (Right Hand Man), Norman Matlock (Clem), Frances Foster (Aunt Song), Joie Susannah Lee (Aunt Maxine), Vondie Curtis-Hall (Uncle Brown), Ivelka Reyes (Jessica), Manny Pérez (Hector), Bokeem Woodbine (Richard), RuPaul (Connie the Bodega Woman), Tiasha Reyes (Minnie), Patrice Nelson (Viola).
Story: In 1973, nine-year-old Troy Carmichael (Zelda Harris) and her brothers Clinton, Wendell, Nate, and Joseph live in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn. The children live with their parents, Woody, a struggling musician, and Carolyn, a schoolteacher. The neighborhood is filled with colorful characters. The Carmichaels’ next-door neighbor, Tony Eyes, continuously sings and plays his electric keyboard. Snuffy and Right Hand Man are glue sniffers.
One night, Woody and Carolyn argue about money; Carolyn resents Woody because he is not appreciating their financial situation and uses their money carelessly to fund his solo career. Carolyn kicks Woody out of the house but Woody brings her flowers and the two reconcile. The family then decides to go on a trip. As they are leaving, a worker from Con Ed comes by to shut off the electricity due to an unpaid bill. The trip is postponed and the family has to use candles for light.
A few days later the family travels to the South to stay with affluent relatives. Troy stays with her cousin, Viola who was adopted by Uncle Clem and Aunt Song. Troy has fun with Viola despite a dislike of her snobby Aunt Song and her dog, Queenie. On Troy’s tenth birthday, she gets a letter from Carolyn. After reading the letter and dealing with constant bickering between Viola and Aunt Song, Troy decides she wants to go home.
When Troy returns to New York, she is picked up at the airport by Aunt Maxine and Uncle Brown. Troy later learns her mother is in the hospital and is taken to see her. Later that evening, Woody tells the kids that their mother has cancer and must stay in the hospital. The boys cry, but Troy remains stoic. She assumes the role of mother while Carolyn remains in the hospital. Later Carolyn loses her battle with cancer.
On the day of the funeral, Troy’s Aunt Maxine tries to coax her into trying on the new clothes she’s brought telling her it would make Carolyn proud. Troy calmly explains that her mother hates polyester and would never let her wear it then announces to Woody that she is not going to the funeral. After Woody explains that Carolyn would want them all together at church, Troy agrees to go.
At the house gathering after the funeral, Troy is withdrawn. Joseph comes inside crying, saying that Snuffy and Right Hand Man robbed him. Following her mother’s wishes to protect her younger brother, Troy goes outside with a baseball bat and hits Snuffy, telling him to go sniff glue on his own block.
Early the next morning, Troy dreams that she’s hearing her mother’s voice. She goes downstairs to see her father trying to kill a rat in the kitchen. Woody then tells her that it is all right to cry, saying that even Clinton has cried. Troy concludes that it is good that her mother is no longer suffering.
In the epilogue, the Carmichael family and their friends carry on with their lives as the summer draws to a close. Troy assumes the matriarch role that Carolyn left behind. Carolyn’s spirit continues to visit Troy, praising her for taking on such responsibilities. Source(s): Wikipedia; IMDB; Quadcinema.com.