18 July 2008 | hooper-xxx
More Instultingly Paternalistic Than Charming
Most of the other reviews of this film paint it as whimsical and charming family fare. I didn't see it that way at all. Almost from the opening scene, I was fighting the urge to turn it off. Had it not been a Sidney Poitier, I'd have done just that. The paternalistic attitude of the Lincoln family, especially Abbey Lincoln, is what galls me the most. Even when Ivy tells them what she wants to do, they seem incapable of comprehending that her pursuit of happiness doesn't involve scrubbing their floors for the rest of her life. The preposterous scheme that Tim Lincoln hatches in order to keep her busting up chifferobes down on the Lincoln Plantation for the rest of her life is not merely imbecilic. It's down right malevolent. It brings to mind Matthew McConaughey's closing statements in the movie, "A Time to Kill." Think of what these cretins are really trying to do to Ivy. Consider that they would deny her everything that they themselves cherish. Now, imagine that she's white.
Another thing that irked me about this movie was that Abbey Lincoln was, and looked every of, at least 10 years too old to play the part of Ivy, a hard 10 years. Additionally, she had a hard snarling visage that seem to run counter to the ostensible sweetness of the character. At times I half expected her to tell someone that she would cut them. A younger, i.e. age appropriate, actress with a less hard bitten visage would helped me muster up something approximating a suspension of disbelief. And, with the absurd dialog bandied about in this film, especially by Beau Bridges, the suspension of can use all of the help it can get.
I'm giving this film a 6 solely on the basis of Sidney Poitier's performance and elegant mien.