He's a semi-employed construction worker and she's a music teacher with ambitions for a singing career. But when they meet at her Brooklyn brownstone their socio-economic differences melt away--or do they? This is the question that drives this 112-minute HBO movie based on Terry McMillan's best-selling novel. Zora wears fabulous clothes, decorates her hardwood-floored apartment with unusual furniture, and dines with her girlfriends at chichi restaurants, while Franklin can't even make regular child-support payments to his estranged wife. She's college educated; he doesn't have his GED. Sanaa Lathan (Love and Basketball) gives Zora dignity and grace throughout the film, while Wesley Snipe's Franklin starts out with those qualities but eventually degenerates into sullenness. Director Gina Prince-Bythewood (Love and Basketball) starts out strong by making Brooklyn a third vibrant character and creating fun takes on the awkward events in every couple's early stages--meeting the friends, dining with the parents. But she loses her way a bit in the middle and seems to rush the end. With much of the transitional material of the book missing in the movie, female viewers may find the ending tough to swallow. The film is rated R for language, brief nudity (specifically of coproducer Snipes's rear quarters), and sexual content. --Kimberly Heinrichs
DVD features The DVD offers a three-minute featurette (a trailer augmented with brief interviews with the stars and a reading of book excerpts by McMillan) and three "in character" performances by the two leads. --Kimberly Heinrichs
From bestselling author Terry McMillan (Waiting To Exhale/How Stella Got Her Groove Back), and from the director of Love and Basketball, Disappearing Acts takes a close look at what it takes to make love real. After the laughter and the love-making, how hard must two people work, and how much must they sacrifice, to still be there the morning after?
Gina Prince-Bythewood's DISAPPEARING ACTS, based on the novel by Terry McMillan, is a mature look at relationships in the late 1990s. Franklin gets day work in construction, with hopes of someday owning his own business. Zora teaches music and voice but dreams of becoming a successful singer-songwriter. When these two lonely, intelligent people meet, fireworks are not far off. But once the two become involved, secrets are uncovered, and their relationship begins to unravel. Zora suffers from epilepsy and soon becomes pregnant, and Franklin just happens to be married with two kids, and he never graduated high school.
Sanaa Lathan (who starred with Omar Epps in Prince-Bythewood's LOVE AND BASKETBALL) and Wesley Snipes (in one of his few romantic leads since Spike Lee's JUNGLE FEVER) are excellent in their roles as lovers struggling to just get by in their Brooklyn neighborhood. Michael Imperioli (THE SOPRANOS), Clark Johnson (HOMICIDE), and John Amos (ROOTS) are good in minor parts. The fine soundtrack enhances the atmosphere as these two lost souls battle to bring warmth and love into their sparse worlds.
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