16 October 2001 | billybrown41
What a great movie.
I saw this movie back when it first came to video. I didn't know anything about it, but I put it in anyway and sat back with an open mind. What followed for the next two hours was a fascinating story of a bigoted, Mississipi tractor salesman who finds out that he is half black. While this might not sound like a big deal, let me explain a bit. I grew up down in the delta, near the location that this movie was filmed. It is a big deal down there. Unfortunately, the majority isn't quite as color-blind as they are in other parts of the united states and bigotry is still a pretty common thing. I'm sad to say that there is still a little bit of a barrier there, and if more people were to see this movie, then I'm sure things would be a little bit different.
You see, Robert Duvall plays a fellow (not the most open-minded of sorts) named Earl. In the opening, we get to see the events that make up a typical day for Earl (coffee drinking, shooting the breeze, and selling tractors). We also learn that Earl's Mom isn't in the best health as she passes away ten minutes into the film. She also leaves a note behind telling Earl that she isn't his real mother. His real mother was black and Earl is the result of an affair that costs his blood mother her life. Since Earl came out looking white, he was raised up like nothing ever happened.
I can see it as a shock. One, Earl appears to be in his mid-fifties. (that's quite a big shock to a guy in the prime of his life) two, he discovers that not only is he a b**tard child to a mother he never knew, he also has an older half-brother. After all of this, Earl needs to take a road-trip to get himself together and maybe meet the brother he never knew. What follows next is a journey (both physical and spiritual) that will show ol'Earl a thing or two about life and love.
Written by Tom Epperson and none other than Ol' Billy Bob Thornton himself, "A Family Thing" is one of the best feel good movies I have ever seen. I highly reccommend it. It's pretty rare that a movie comes along that is good enough to change one's life. This oughta be required viewing for high-school students. What a film. 10/10