Down in the Delta | Movie Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Down in the Delta


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A woman sends her self-destructive daughter and grandchildren, whom the daughter neglects, to spend the summer in the Mississippi Delta, hoping their self-esteem will be nurtured by a sense of family and history that's absent from their lives in Chicago. The idea of the small town as an antidote to the city is advanced without being oversimplified in this redemption story, which was obviously directed by a poet. Maya Angelou's very deliberate blocking of the actors charges each movement and line of dialogue with emotion, and the expressive combinations of colors and textures in the settings convey a palpable sense of the environment in which the characters undergo big but believable changes. Myron Goble wrote the screenplay; with Alfre Woodard, Mary Alice, Al Freeman Jr., Esther Rolle, Mpho Koaho, and Wesley Snipes. Bricktown Square, Burnham Plaza, Chatham 14, Ford City, Hyde Park, Lawndale, Plaza, 62nd & Western, Water Tower. --Lisa Alspector

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): film still.

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