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Movie Reviews

DVD Review: “A Raisin in the Sun”

(Sony. 2008. 2 hours, 11 minutes. Rated PG-13. Widescreen. Color. Directed by Kenny Leon.) Sean Combs, Phylicia Rashad, Audra McDonald, Sanaa Lathan, John Stamos. Music by Mervyn Warren.

Acclaimed Broadway revival of famous Lorraine Hansberry play receives television movie adaptation, with the stage cast and director intact. An African-American family in 1950s Chicago awaits an insurance check of $10,000 after their father’s death; each has a different idea of what to do with the money. Good overall, with Rashad as matriarch Lena Younger, and McDonald her daughter-in-law (who both won Tonys) the standouts; Combs and Lathan are Rashad’s son and daughter. Lathan overcomes her obvious beauty to portray a real character, a young woman who’s looking to find herself, while Combs as the money-hungry son has a few moments, but won’t erase memories of Sidney Poitier’s dynamic performance in the 1961 film version. Poitier’s movie is worth seeking out if you’ve never seen it; there’s also a 1989 American Playhouse version with Danny Glover. Extras here include a making-of featurette.