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Soul Food

4.6 out of 5 stars 210 customer reviews

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(Apr 03, 2001)
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Editorial Reviews

Sunday dinner at Mother Joe's is a mouth-watering, 40 year tradition, but the good times suddenly stop when bickering tears the family apart. Now it's up to Mother's young grandson to bring everyone back together and teach them the true meaning of soul food.

Special Features

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Product Details

  • Actors: Vanessa Williams, Vivica A. Fox, Nia Long, Michael Beach, Mekhi Phifer
  • Directors: George Tillman Jr.
  • Writers: George Tillman Jr.
  • Producers: Kenneth 'Babyface' Edmonds, Llewellyn Wells, Michael McQuarn, Robert Teitel, Tracey E. Edmonds
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Director's Cut, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Surround), French (Dolby Surround), Spanish (Dolby Surround)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: 20th Century Fox
  • DVD Release Date: April 3, 2001
  • Run Time: 115 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (210 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00066FAQW
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,318 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Soul Food" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on July 24, 1999
Format: VHS Tape
I went to see this movie with an African American friend. When he told me about the movie I figured I might not be able to relate, because it was about an African American family. And, in this society we all sometimes get caught up in our differences as opposed to what makes us so much alike. By the end of this movie, I felt like I had just seen the best family movie that I had ever seen. Regardless of the ethnic make-up of the family. Soul Food as certainly more than a movie about an African American family. It is a movie about strong family values and how those values are challenged by tragedy, jobs, deciet, miscommunication and betrayal. This movie depicts how a family can overcome all of those obstacles and maintain the most important value of them all... love for family.
As I further thought about what I had seen, I realized how rare we see movies of this nature featuring African Americans. I also realized how sad it is that most non-African Americans won't go to see this movie for that reason alone. If they only knew how much they missed.
In addition to being hungry following this movie, I also felt a warm spirit come over me. And, I also realized that black or white, family values are pretty much the same. Finally, I realized just how much I miss sitting down with my family over dinner. So, the following Sunday, my wife and I gathered our children, their grandparents and a few family friends and we had the best dinner I've experienced in a long time. We've now made this a tradition. Now if I and my wife can learn to cook the way they did in Soul Food....
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By Tony_Tone on February 25, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
I can watch this movie all day long.. this movie reminds me so much of my family when i was coming up the sunday dinners, just being around each other , the sibling riviarly i can most defintely relate to.. this a breath of fresh air from the normal hood type movies.. yes that is a part of life but it just a portion of life .. Good to see us as african american people seein an another light .. Hats off to Producers, Directors, Writers .. Love the soundtrack also !
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Format: DVD
This movie is something everyone can relate to in some way no matter what race you are. Watching this reminded me of my own family. The three sisters also reminded me of my family. The rich child, child with kids and the young one who still is coming up. The grandson reminded me of myself when I was younger. This movie is about the ups and downs of life and how a family sticks together no matter what hard times come around. It shows how one person(the grandmother) had such a strong power over everybody by keeping them together. I guess the big dinners was all part of it because thats when everyone used to get together. Buying this will not leave you in doubt about wasting your money because the story is tight from beginning to end. So far this is the best movie (and soundtrack) to drop from babyface. If your not sure..trust me when I say this is something u just want to have if you like collecting movies and even if you don't.
get it!
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Format: DVD
This movie was so poetic and to the heart talking about how family sticks together through the ups and downs. The movie had me in tears and I loved the togetherness of family during Sunday dinner. But the overall matter of the movie is family will press on no matter how hard and tough it seems, family sticks together.
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Format: DVD
Thank goodness someone made a good, warm-hearted film about a family--that's pretty much what I thought when I first saw "Soul Food" in the theater in 1997. Like many Americans, I was starved for a movie that didn't portray the American family as broken or malignant, which appears to be the Hollywood standard. "Soul Food" works primarily because it never loses sight of the importance of family, even as its members may bicker or transgress. The plot focuses on the lasting impact of the family matriarch--Big Mama (played wonderfully by Irma P. Hall)--whose kind heart and wise soul holds the family of mostly younger couples together, despite their foibles. When she passes away from complications due to diabetes, her daughters must overcome their differences to uphold the family traditions, best embodied by Sunday dinners that go beyond simple meals. The cast is generally superb, though Vivica Fox and Brandon Hammond (as grandson Ahmad, through whose eyes we are told the story), sometimes try too hard, making their characters border on caricature in a film that otherwise seems so lifelike. There is a subplot involving a hidden family fortune that also gets in the way--writer and director George Tillman, Jr., seems to want to jam as much into the story as possible when he really doesn't have to, as the main plot is interesting enough. These flaws are oddly more apparent on the small screen than they were on the big screen. Nonetheless, "Soul Food," despite its "R" rating, is an effective family film, one with a sense of authenticity that Hollywood seems to have mostly forgotten.
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Format: VHS Tape
SOUL FOOD is the type of movie that you like not because of what it is, but from what you hope it to be. Irrespective of your race or ethnic background, you are bound to connect on some level with this film.
The story itself is not very original. It involves an African American family that gathers weekly for the family dinner. The focus is on three sisters, who share their hopes, dreams and frustrations. The story is told through the eyes of the son of the middle sister. While the film is told through a his eyes, it is not a story for children because of some of the themes explored like adultery. It's an odd way to tell this story, but it works most of the time.
Unfortunately, writer/director George Tillman, Jr. (with an uncredited rewrite by Tina Andrews) do not know the meaning of subtlety and nuance. The characters are drawn with broad strokes. Teri (Vanessa L. Williams) is the cold and hard-driving overachiever of the family. Maxine (Vivica A. Fox) is the aggressive, but "down to earth" stay-at-home mom, and Bird (Nia Long) is the baby of the family, who has just married the neer-do-well, Lem (Mekhi Phifer). Each one of their stories follows a fairly predictable course.
This is not to say that the movie is without charm. It's nice to see a black movie that is not focusing on gangs or drugs. It's also a film that shows black people from several different generations.
You feel for the struggles of the characters, although many of the situations seem forced and over the top. One particular scene that comes to mind is when Teri's character pulls out a knife. It seems to completely contradict her character as an educated professional woman.
The film also follows the cliché of many character driven pieces in that a key character must die.
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