Soul Man

1986, Movie, PG-13, 101 mins


This amiable but politically confused comedy is essentially a comic version of BLACK LIKE ME, the true-life book and film about John Howard Griffin, who dyed his skin dark so he could learn what it was like to be black in America. Mark Watson (C. Thomas Howell) and best pal Gordon (Arye Gross) are UCLA seniors who have been accepted by Harvard law school. But Mark's upper-middle-class father (James B. Sikking) decides it would be better if the boy had to put himself through Harvard. Mark is desperate to raise the $54,000 needed to finance his education, until he hears that a scholarship is available to a needy black student. Mark takes some experimental suntan pills and succeeds in darkening his skin enough to be accepted into Harvard on that scholarship, thus beating out Sarah Walker (Rae Dawn Chong), a truly qualified black woman who is also at Harvard while she raises her son alone. There are some good moments in SOUL MAN, but Gross steals the picture; he has the best lines and makes the most of them. leave a comment

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