27 June 2011

Kerry Washington Lovely in Lift (2001)

Comment in response to Elvis Mitchell's review of this wonderful little film:

Lift (2001) is a sharp, witty cinematic effort, giving us well drawn characters whose lives we care about. Its also a stunning turn by Kerry Washington in a heavy indictment of consumer culture. It is filled with complex and generous portrayals of these characters. And even if the reasons underpinning their desire for the designer goods is something which the audience is expected to know already - which, depending on the viewing audience could determine whether these characters end up stereotyped or understood - the actors still give them such depth one should feel for them.

Elvis Mitchell calls these young Black characters small-minded and short-sighted, but this is an ungenerous read at best and at worst its a rough essentializing. Especially because, at its most poignant, this film proves that ironically, the accusations of otherness slopped onto Black people in the U.S. can easily be disproved when one considers the fact that the All American Love of bigger, better, more, now is shared by White and Black Americans! If nothing else we know that the oppressed, or formerly oppressed, follow the suit of their oppressors, so if we are to nag these young people for their behavior, we must condemn all American culture for making it seem there is nothing in life but to own and have more stuff...

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