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‘To Sleep With Anger’ Blu-ray Review (Criterion)

Stars: Danny Glover, Mary Alice, Richard Brooks, Sheryl Lee Ralph, Paul Butler | Written and Directed by Charles Burnett

Made in 1990, the title To Sleep With Anger may make it sound like a straight-to-vhs domestic abuse thriller but this film is actually a sensitive, sad and funny drama about an African-American community in Los Angeles. Although this isn’t the standard Hollywood depiction of black La as a hotbed of gang violence and hopelessness, but instead a middle class made up of the working young and the comfortably retired.

As we join the story, connections are already frayed. Gideon (Paul Butler) and Suzie (Mary Alice) are tired of taking care of their grandson (DeVaughan Nixon), whose parents, Samuel (Richard Brooks) and Linda (Sheryl Lee Ralph), are trying to maintain careers whilst raising a child. Samuel, somewhat disparagingly nicknamed “Babe Brother”, is a reluctant father, and he’s full of repressed rage and resentment.

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