Ty Burr
January 16, 1998 AT 05:00 AM EST

Soul Food (Music - Soundtrack)

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
R
runtime
114 minutes
performer
Vivica A. Fox, Brandon Hammond, Irma P. Hall, Nia Long, Mekhi Phifer, Vanessa Williams, Michael Beach, Jeffrey D. Sams
director
George Tillman, Jr.
distributor
20th Century Fox Film Corporation
author
George Tillman, Jr.
genre
Drama

We gave it a B+

Some critics saw only the clichés in this warm, fractious drama about how a black family nearly flies apart when its center (grandmother Irma P. Hall) lands in the hospital. And, okay, some of the subplots — buppie Michael Beach is drawn to his workaholic wife’s (Williams) randy cousin (Gina Ravera); newlyweds Long and Mekhi Phifer struggle to overcome his criminal past — practically have ruts worn into them. But the performances are all skilled, heartfelt, and rich (Brandon Hammond is especially winning as the pint-size narrator), and the film fits cozily into the domestic arena of video. George Tillman Jr. writes and directs with homespun style and a minimum of flash, reminding us that behind a lot of clichés lie simple truths.

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