I have what I consider a decent movie library but this movie will never make it into my DVD library. I have seen this movie on cable and the mood that it puts me in is never a happy one.
This movie showcased every black stereotype and family issue and completely put it in view of the whole world to see.
The family is made up of a matriarch, Big Mama, who has three daughters who each have significant others. Vivica Fox’s character, Maxine has a blue-collar worker husband and 2 kids. They own a home but it seemed to me, not really have a lot of money. While they were not poor by any means, their money did not match the money Vanessa Williams’ character Teri made. She was a lawyer who had a lawyer husband. They lived in a beautiful apartment but work consumed them both which meant they never really spent quality time with each other. Nia Long’s character, Bird has her own beauty shop and has a husband who was in jail.
The title soul food was to show how the family dinner would bring the family together and all the problems they had would be taken care at the dinner table. If that isn’t the biggest crock of ish I have ever heard. Most of time, all the tension and issue that families face are made more a problem and creates bigger rifts than it heals them at dinner.
Since Teri was the breadwinner, she was expected to pay for everything. Even of her sister’s would claim to pay her back, they never would. When Teri would gripe, all the Big mama would say is ” Teri, stop hounding your family.” But truth be told, family can be your worst enemy and this movie brought that to light. I say this from personal experience because I have a family member who feels that all family is good for is being their own personal ATM.
Bird as her name sake to me was a chicken head aka a Bird. She runs a beauty salon and while that is a worthwhile endeavor, she is flirting with an ex and accepting gifts from him even though she is married. When her husband gets out of jail, he of course cannot find a job, so after failure after failure of 6 interviews, the battle cry is” the man puts you in jail to make you better but when you get out the crackers control the jobs, so you can’t get hired.” When she tries to find him a job, of course she flirts with her ex and while the ex does get him the job, he wanted to show his prowess and control decides to rub it in Lem’s face. Lem of course loses his temper because is his pride as man has been damaged and lashes out and attacks him. He them goes and yells at Bird for hurting his manhood and then goes to a bar to drinks his pain away. Teri thinking sister got beat by her husband intervenes and has cousin Blimp beat up her husband and Lem pulls out a gun which he shouldn’t have had (you know terms of parole) end his ass right back in jail. Now while I will never know the plight of the black man or claim to ever, I think anyone who has gone to jail, no matter the race, has probably experienced the same problem.
And then they have a cousin Faith who comes and goes as she pleases and uses the family when she can. She used them so much she stayed in Teri’s house and because Teri and her husband’s relationship is strained Faith sleeps with Teri’s husband.
Throughout the movie, the true link was Maxine’s son, Ahmad. To be honest, that annoyed me no end. This little boy was never in his damn house at any real-time. He is always in every body business but that was the only thing that would gel this story together. While I know family is close, this is truly southern thing. I have no idea what this closeness is because my family unit is nothing like this.
Now while I guess to some it may seem like I’m jealous, this movies just made the closeness a little too uncomfortable at least to me.
So or course in the end, everything worked itself out but if this movie was made now, I bet you certain things would probably not be tied up in a neat ribbon. I know human beings want movies to entertain and give us hope because somehow we are never truly satisfied in our lives but in reality, sometimes things are not are not in a neat bow.