TONI MORRISON: THE PIECES I AM

"Black Novelist’s Life and Influence Examined"

Quality:
Content: -1 Discretion advised for older children.
NoneLightModerateHeavy
Language
Violence
Sex
Nudity

What You Need To Know:

TONI MORRISON:  THE PIECES I AM is a documentary about acclaimed Nobel Prize-winning black novelist Toni Morrison. Morrison interweaves f her life with insights about her most popular novels. She talks about her grandfather, who read the Bible cover to cover five times. When she was young, she realized the power of words. The documentary intertwines her personal story with the backstory of some of her most popular novels. As each novel and different part of her life is discussed, interviews with others add to the story.

TONI MORRISON:  THE PIECES I AM is very informative, but way too long. The documentary includes beautiful African American art and real photos. The interviews with other people beef up the narrative and inform viewers what Morrison’s novels have done for literature. TONI MORRISON:  THE PIECES I AM has some overt Christian elements. It talks about the Bible, features a song that talks about God and Heaven, and includes a discussion about God. However, it also contains a drawing of a semi-nude female slave and some obscenities. MOVIEGUIDE® advises caution for older children.

Content:

(CC, B, L, NN, D, M):

Dominant Worldview and Other Worldview Content/Elements:
Christian worldview with some moral elements as the documentary starts out with woman explaining how her grandfather had read the Bible five times cover to cover, woman explains a situation where she was telling a friend that God existed even though the friend stopped believing because her prayer wasn’t answered, an African American song with lyrics about God and Heaven is featured, woman says the most important things in life are family, health, food, bills, and church

Foul Language:
Two obscenities and one “n” word

Violence:
No violence

Sex:
No sex

Nudity:
Upper female nudity depicted in a drawing of a slave

Alcohol Use:
No alcohol use

Smoking and/or Drug Use and Abuse:
Smoking in one scene but no drugs; and,

Miscellaneous Immorality:
Racism is discussed in the documentary.

More Detail:

TONI MORRISON: THE PIECES I AM is a documentary on the life of acclaimed black writer and editor Toni Morrison. The documentary is narrated by Morrison herself talking about both her personal and professional life experiences. The documentary also features interviews with countless others who were a big part of Morrison’s life. THE PIECES I AM features a Christian, moral worldview where God is discussed and a song about Him and Heaven is featured, but some foul language is included. Movieguide® advises caution for older children.

In the documentary, Morrison basically tells the story of her life and insights behind some of her most popular novels. It opens with her talking about her grandfather and how he read the Bible cover to cover five times. This is important because not many African Americans of his time period knew how to read.

When she was young and learned about her grandfather, Morrison realized that words have power. This influenced the rest of her life and the career path she chose to take.

From here, the documentary intertwines her personal story with the backstory of some of her most popular novels. One of the big issues she talks about in the beginning is how her books only have African American characters, with no white characters. This is something that caused controversy throughout her career.

As each novel and different part of her life is discussed, interviews with people from the educational world, critical world and even television world are used to enhance how important her writing was to the world. One day, Morrison one day got a call from the talk show host Oprah Winfrey, who wanted more information about one of her books and how it came to be. She also wanted to make that particular book into a movie, which did in fact happen. Along with the movie, most of Morrison’s books are on Winfrey’s book club list.

The icing on the cake for Morrison’s career, though, is when she won the 1993 Nobel Prize for Literature. This was something she never expected and didn’t even believe when she first heard the news. She received a lot of backlash for winning as some people didn’t think she deserved it.

TONI MORRISON: THE PIECES I AM is very informative, but it’s much too long. It would be much more effective if it was cut down to a shorter length. The documentary includes a lot of old beautiful African American art and real photos. The interviews from others who are in the literary world also beef up the narrative and inform the viewer what Morrison’s novels have done for literature and the world in general.

TONI MORRISON: THE PIECES I AM has many Christian elements as it talks about the Bible, features a song that’s lyrics talk about God and Heaven, and even includes a discussion about God. Sadly, though, it also includes some foul language, brief nudity and is very political in the sense that it talks about racism and how that affected Morrison’s career. Movieguide® advises caution for children.

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