The Brother From Another Planet

John Sayles wrote and directed this 1984 independent feature about a black alien (Joe Morton) who crash-lands near Ellis Island and makes his way to Harlem. The film is partly a fable on the immigrant experience, partly the portrait of a community as it appears to the new arrival (who listens intently, but cannot speak). The two different ends require shifts in point of view that are beyond Sayles's talent as a visual storyteller, and the film does not cohere. Yet many of the individual scenes are charming, funny, and pointed, and the movie gives off Sayles's usual glow of goodwill. With Darryl Edwards, Steve James, and Leonard Jackson. 104 min.

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