BROWN SUGAR

Follow Your Heart

Content -2
Quality
None Light Moderate Heavy
Language        
Violence        
Sex        
Nudity        

Release Date: October 11, 2002

Starring: Sanaa Lathan, Taye Diggs,
Queen Latifah, Nicole Ari
Parker, Mos Def, and Boris
Kodjoe

Genre: Romance/Drama

Audience: Older teenagers and adults

Rating: PG-13

Runtime: 109 minutes

Distributor: Fox Searchlight Pictures

Director: Rick Famuyiwa

Executive Producer: Magic Johnson

Producer: Peter Heller

Writer: Michael Elliot and Rick
Famuyiwa

Address Comments To:

Lindsay Law, President
Fox Searchlight
20th Century Fox Film Corp.
A Division of Fox, Inc.
10201 West Pico Blvd., Bldg. 38
Los Angeles, CA 90035
Phone: (310) 369-4402

Content:

(RoRo, Ab, Cap, B, PC, LLL, V, S, N, A, D, M) Romantic worldview with an implied slam against the biblical institution of marriage with pro-capitalist, moral message when man becomes a successful entrepreneur and implied politically correct messages about identity politics and racial issues; 23 mostly light obscenities, one strong profanity and three light profanities; no violence; implied fornication, implied adultery, husband catches wife holding hands with man who kisses her and then, by implication, fornicates with his female friend, and passionate kissing; partial male nudity; alcohol use; smoking; and, some miscellaneous immorality.


Summary:

BROWN SUGAR is a romance about an unrequited love between two childhood friends in New York City, a girl named Sidney and a boy named Andre (Dre for short), who are enamored with hip-hop music. A Romantic worldview, including a favorable attitude toward sexual immorality, require an extreme caution for teenagers and adults.


Review:

BROWN SUGAR is a romance about an unrequited love between two childhood friends in New York City, a girl named Sidney and a boy named Andre (Dre for short). Sidney and Dre meet on the playground, where they begin to share a life-long love affair with hip-hop and rap music. Years later, Sidney becomes a talented pop music writer and Dre becomes a highly-paid record executive. They are both afraid, however, of ruining their friendship by falling in love, so Dre gets married and Sidney begins an affair with a famous basketball player. Dre becomes dissatisfied with his boss’s shallow attitude toward music. This and his continued friendship with Sidney put stress on his marriage, causing Dre, Sidney and Dre’s wife to rethink their relationships.
Narrated by Sidney, BROWN SUGAR is the antithesis to CASABLANCA, one of the best-loved romantic dramas of all time. In fact, Dre’s rapper friend tells Dre at one point that Humphrey Bogart should have ran away with the married woman in that movie. Thus, BROWN SUGAR implies that Bogart’s moral decision to make her stay with her husband was a wrong decision.
Essentially, therefore, BROWN SUGAR takes a Romantic worldview in regard to human relationships. This worldview displays an implied slam against the biblical institution of marriage. Furthermore, although the movie’s depiction of foul language and sex is relatively tame compared to many other contemporary movies, it does nothing to counteract its characters’ favorable attitude toward premarital sex.
Whatever its moral and spiritual failings, the production values in BROWN SUGAR are high. Taye Diggs does his usual excellent job as Dre. Sanaa Lathan also is perfect as the wistful, apprehensive Sidney. The filmmakers have also edited the story well, though the movie seems a bit long.
The movie, however, hints that there’s a difference between rap music versus hip-hop music. It fails, however, to explain just what that difference is. In reality, there seems to be very little difference, except that hip-hop can include other forms of black music than just rap, such as modern-day versions of “funk” music, which often can be combined with rap.
Finally, although it’s certainly clear that Sidney and Dre really like hip-hop music and the culture that surrounds it, the movie fails to show why anyone else should think of this music as anything special. Thus, some may conclude that today’s popular black music seems to have declined greatly from its heydey in the 1960s and early 1970s, when people like The Supremes, The Temptations, James Brown, Aretha Franklin, and Sam Cooke ruled the roost.


In Brief:

BROWN SUGAR is a romance about an unrequited love between two childhood friends in New York City, a girl named Sidney and a boy named Andre (Dre for short). Sidney and Dre meet on the playground, where they begin to share a life-long love affair with hip-hop and rap music. Years later, Sidney becomes a talented pop music writer and Dre becomes a highly-paid record executive. They are afraid, however, of ruining their friendship by falling in love, so, Dre gets married and Sidney begins an affair with a famous basketball player. Dre becomes dissatisfied with his boss’s shallow attitude toward music. This and his friendship with Sidney put stress on his marriage, causing Dre, Sidney and Dre’s wife to rethink their relationships.
BROWN SUGAR takes a Romantic “Follow your heart, despite the moral consequences” view toward human relationships. This worldview displays an implied slam against the biblical institution of marriage. Furthermore, although the movie’s depiction of foul language and sex is relatively tame compared to many other contemporary movies, it does nothing to counteract its characters’ favorable attitude toward premarital sex. The high quality of the production and the performances cannot compensate for these failings