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Critics and audiences alike have gotten behind Mario Van Peebles' candid portrait of his father Melvin's struggle as a young, black director during the society-shifting early '70s. Determined to make a film that matters, Melvin (played by son Mario) deals with two-faced backers, a rag tag crew, threatening creditors and various shades of Hollywood hypocrisy. Obsessed and with everything on the line, including his failing eyesight and family, his only choice is to stick to his guns and do whatever it takes to get his neo-blaxploitation epic Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song to the audience for which it was envisioned. The real-life father and son dynamic brings an intimacy to this inspiring and often hilarious tribute to the father of black cinema. The result is a seamless layering of entertaining drama and poignant documentary that mirrors itself from every angle and never loses its edge.
Movie Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes
- Reviews Counted: 106
- Fresh: 96
- Rotten: 10
- Average Rating: 7.4/10
Top Critics' Reviews
Fresh: It's an exhausting, and exhaustingly pleasurable, entertainment.
Fresh: A lively, absorbing, often uncannily authentic docudrama.
Fresh: Mario lacks the finesse as a filmmaker to deliver the nuanced portrait his father deserves, but he largely succeeds: We see Melvin as a flawed man, but one who worked for something larger than himself.
Fresh: It's a great story and well worth remembering.