Lackawanna Blues (2005)

TV Movie   |  PG-13   |    |  Drama, Music


Lackawanna Blues (2005) Poster

In a story fueled by rhythm and blues, a young boy's life is shaped by love and the stories of a cast of characters in the boarding house where he lives in 1960s Lackawanna, New York.


7.9/10
2,198

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12 February 2005 | lavatch
A Wonderful Ensemble and an Unforgettable Main Character
The centerpiece of Lackawanna Blues is the character Rachel "Nanny" Crosby, who runs a boardinghouse and provides unflagging support to a young boy, Ruben, the narrator of the film. Based upon the experiences of writer-actor Ruben Santiago-Hudson, the film lovingly recreates the upstate New York boardinghouse and evokes the cultural climate of a world in transition in the 1960s.

The first half of the film is virtually non-stop music. The second half addresses more completely the various characters in the boardinghouse. Nanny's ability "to take fragments and make them whole" affects everyone within her sphere. An especially vivid scene is when she confronts an abusive husband, telling him firmly, "If you ever touch that child again, we're going to dance!" As delivered by actress S. Epatha Merkerson, that line is so steely and filled with such resolve that the husband with the hair-trigger temper is frozen in his tracks.

From start to finish, Merkerson delivers a commanding presence Her character binds together the disparate lives of the borders in her home. This was a touching, heartfelt film with a wonderful cast. As played by Merkerson, the character of Nanny simply radiates love. This is a film experience that I will remember for a long time to come.

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