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Cora Unashamed

20 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Langston Hughes' haunting story of an African-American woman's confrontation with death, abortion and loneliness is set in rural Iowa in the early 1900s. Working as a domestic, she lives only for her daughter and the neglected child of her employers. Regina Taylor ("Strange Justice," "I'll Fly Away") and Cherry Jones (A Moon for the Misbegotten, Cradle Will Rock) star.

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Regina Taylor, Cherry Jones, Ellen Muth, Michael Gaston, Kohl Sudduth
  • Directors: Deborah Pratt
  • Writers: Ann Peacock, Langston Hughes
  • Producers: Andrea Lapins, Anne Hopkins, Marian Rees, Rebecca Eaton, Ronald Colby
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Unknown)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Pbs Paramount
  • DVD Release Date: February 8, 2005
  • Run Time: 93 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0006Z2L5Q
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #67,603 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Cora Unashamed" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Alan Breck on September 19, 2002
Format: VHS Tape
Almost all of the "Masterpiece Theatre American Collection" dramas have been disasters. The sole exception is "Cora Unashamed." This adaptation of Langston Hughes's short story is beautifully written, directed, and cast. It packs a greater emotional punch than almost anything else that television has produced in recent years.
Cora, a black housekeeper, works for a well-placed white family in a small Iowa town, and loses her young daughter to illness. Cora finds a surrogate child in the youngest daughter of her employers, and the daughter, in turn, finds a soulmate in Cora. This friendship, as well as the young girl's romantic attachment, does not please her social-climbing mother. Matters come to a head when this child also falls ill.
The underrated Regina Taylor plays Cora to perfection, displaying the full range of the character's emotions. Cora's sense of humor, honor, and love balance her pain, hurt, and jealousy. She never loses sight of the entire woman. Cherry Jones, one of the New York stage's greatest actresses, matches her as the flawed and domineering mother. Where a lesser actress would portray a cardboard villain, Jones displays all the vulnerability and humanity that lies under the surface.
A job well done.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Andre M. on May 21, 2002
Format: VHS Tape
This film, and the underrated talent Regina Taylor, does a great job of "fleshing out" Langston Hughes' classic short story. The film remains faithful to the Hughes tale and does an excellent job of giving the characters added depth. We see all of the elements that cause the bond between Cora and Jessie, the misunderstood daughter of her cruel and indifferent employers. The acting and Iowa scenery are superb. This is one adaption that does not require you to read he original first. Read it to compare, but see thins and it will really make you think of what's important in life.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Cathleen M. Walker VINE VOICE on August 28, 2007
Format: DVD
This is a story about the shame that binds us, and the truth that sets us free. It's about adolescent love, classism, racism, and a love that crosses all the boundaries.

Regina Taylor is a class act, and plays her characters with dignity and grace. Playing a woman who is fully expected to sacrifice her life for the family she works for, Ms. Taylor does as fine a job in this feature as she does in the TV series "I'll Fly Away" with Sam Waterston - one of my all time favorites.

When she loses her child to whooping cough, Cora's dedication to the little white girl she cares for, who was her daughter's friend, deepens. The story becomes more tragic as the true nature of the little girl's relationship with her own mother is based on the mother's shame, lies, and secrets. The way that shame plays out causes devastating effects to unfold until you just don't think you can take it any more.

And the power of the truth reveals how liberating honesty can be.

When Abortion Was Illegal: Untold Stories

Rambling Rose
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 9, 2001
Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
This movie is based on a short story by Langston Hughes. It is the best movie I have seen this year. The movie is about Cora. She is one of the only black people in her town. Cora has a little daughter and she is the housekeeper for a rich white family. After a tremendous heartbreak Cora becomes close to the youngest daugther of the family. Cora will once again suffer heartbreak. Your heart will break with her's because of the touching scenes that follow each heartbreak. You might cry but when you reach the end of the movie, you will be rewarded. This is a great movie and I recommend it highly.
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By margaret todd on September 7, 2013
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Now here is a great heart-felt movie. About the life journey of a young woman who is in service to a family. And the events in Cora's life with her daughter and daughter of her employer. Regina Taylor is wonderful in this movie. It's a believeable story and just so touching.A young black woman in a mostly white small town, who falls in love and is left with the joy of her life. In this movie it shows the wonderful, the good in some also with side by side with the uncareing and no heart. I saw this years ago and really like it, glad I found it for my own now. The tittle is right for the movie and tells how Cora feels and acts in her life. Unashamed to love and care. Some subject matter may not be good for children. I think teenagers(girls) though would really like this movie and appeals to different races also. It is mostly a woman's movie, no guns or car chases for sure. But a very thoughtful , heartfelt movie about life and how it affects mostly the choices women make. I loved it, cause there is a saying in it, that touched my heart, being a parent also thinking back when my children were a lot of work. I won't spoil it, so you find out if the same words from Cora touches your heart also.
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By Cynthia Christiansen on January 12, 2013
Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
In my opinion this film hits all the right notes. It is the film version of a story by Langston Hughes, and in my opinion everyone connected to it has taken all Mr. Hughes' points and fleshed them out beautifully. All the actors are perfect for their roles. It portrays life in small town Iowa during the depression with spotlight precision. There is humor, but most of the story is bittersweet and there are tragic events interwoven throughout just like in life. As you watch you can feel sympathy for Cora as she tries to find her place as a Black woman in a white community. This requires hiding much of what she thinks and feels. But as the story ends with the death of Jessie, the white girl she has loved, all the injustices Cora has witnessed burst through and she speaks her mind to a stunned gathering. I found much poignancy in this film.
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