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||IMDB Rating: 6.6/10 from R votes
||Release: 20 April 2001 (USA) /
||Director: Kosmond Russell,
||Stars: Billy Dee Williams, Charmin Lee White, Christopher Babers, Drew Renkewitz, Enoh Essien, Hill Harper, Hugh Dane, Jascha Washington, Jennifer Freeman, Jordan Lund, Marla Gibbs, Obba Babatundé, Phylicia Rashad, Terrell Mitchell, Tim DeZam
||Synopsis: Based on a play inspired by a true story, The Visit explores one man's search for understanding and redemption. With the help of a psychiatrist, convicted rapist Alex Waters (Hill Harper) charts a new course that changes forever the fate of those who love him and their memories of him. Written by Anonymous
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Any film about a young black male in prison just BEGS for rhetoric. Add AIDS
in the mix, and the traps are everywhere.
This film manages to illuminate more than one of the issues involved in both
subjects without ever becoming tendentious or trite. And it does so largely
because of the deeply felt work of Hill Harper and the other actors
involved. Through shades of rage, neediness, fear, frustration and the most
affecting, immediate, infant love, Harper brings us right to the heart of a
man who knows he's done wrong, but nonetheless has been done greater wrong.
With all the complex personal and political issues at play here, what shines
through and holds the film is the raw, heartbreaking yearning of the main
Not that larger situations aren't observed. When his successful businessman
brother (played by Obba Bobatunde) comes to visit, the obligatory search by
a guard becomes one more humiliation of a black man. This isn't underlined -
it's simply shown. His father's rant about how young blacks become what many
whites already think they are could come right out of an article on the
subject - except that he's talking about his son and the father
(uncompromisingly played by Billy Dee Williams)is being his pompous
A number of other vignettes refer to larger issues without every losing
sight of the specific human stories that we're following.
Everybody in the cast is superb without being flashy: simply real. Rae Dawn
Chong remains believable even when her character's relentlessly positive
character borders on the Pollyannaish. It's not a surprise that she's
luminous in these scenes - that over-used word applies more appropriately to
Chong than almost any other actress -, but in the flashbacks showing her as
a crack whore she becomes every bit as beaten down and dispairing as she is
radiant in redemption.
Also, two scenes are fascinating simply for the freedom of interplay that
the director manages to achieve - the parole board's part pompous, part
compassionate negotiations and the extended dialogue between Harper and
Chong's characters during her first visit. In both, there is that Cassavetes
quality of a scene almost veering out of control while continuing to convey
its dramatic point.
Though several scenes take place in a church, the film avoids the
increasingly cliched use of a gospel choir to suddenly provide an emotional
uplift. Yet nontheless, towards the end, we are treated to an extended
montage over a unique version of "Sometimes I Feel Like A Motherless Child"
by the sublime Sweet Honey in the Rock.
That kind of tasteful deflection of expectations informs the whole film.
It's really a wonderful piece of work.
Tags for The Visit Full Movie
Billy Dee Williams
, Charmin Lee White
, Christopher Babers
, Drew Renkewitz
, Enoh Essien
, Hill Harper
, Hugh Dane
, Jascha Washington
, Jennifer Freeman
, Jordan Lund
, Marla Gibbs
, Obba Babatundé
, Phylicia Rashad
, Terrell Mitchell
, Tim DeZam
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