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Spinning into Butter (2007)

Beau Bridges , Becky Ann Baker , Mark Brokaw  |  R |  DVD
3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Beau Bridges, Becky Ann Baker, Sarah Jessica Parker, James Rebhorn, Miranda Richardson
  • Directors: Mark Brokaw
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Screen Media
  • DVD Release Date: June 9, 2009
  • Run Time: 89 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00242KD0O
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #137,704 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews

A vicious hate crime at an elite New England college thrusts the new dean of students into the investigation. When charged with maintaining order on campus, she is forced to examine her own feelings about race. Based on the critically acclaimed play, Spinning Into Butter is a compelling movie that examines the emotional fallout of prejudice within the cloistered walls of academia.

Customer Reviews

3.1 out of 5 stars
3.1 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I'm Impressed November 20, 2009
I had never heard of this story, nor did I know it was originally a play by Rebecca Gilman. I saw the DVD in the video store with Sarah Jessica Parker on the front cover.

The movie does keep a bit of a play atmosphere, and the topics are spot on. Prepare to be provoked and get buttons pushed. I thought it was a refreshingly blunt piece - better than "Crash" - in my opinion, and the story is engaging. None of that abstract hidden agenda stuff. It gets right to the point and drags the issue out into the open.

Basic plot: a hate crime is committed at a New England college which sends the school into media chaos and causes the Dean of Students (Sarah Jessica Parker) to have to deal with her own issues of race.

Sarah Jessica does a pretty decent job in this, and so does Mykelti Williamson. Their on screen chemistry is great.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This movie isn't perfect nor bad... February 15, 2012
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I watched this film simply because of my love and admiration for actor Victor Rasuk (How To Make it in America, Lords of Dogtown) who plays Patrick Chibas, the Nuyorican who has had enough of the biased misconceptions of his ethnicity. I think he held his own in this film. He has about ten minutes of total screen time, but it works. The rest of the film I'm not going into detail as other reviewers have. This is just my two cents, without the play by play.

"Spinning" kind of reminds you of a Saturday afternoon movie on basic cable television, except: there's Carrie-motha******'-Bradshaw yapping your face. It's kind of hilarious, really. She didn't strike me as a teacher (or educator of any kind) before viewing this, but in fact, it works for her as well. She plays the sympathetic, mousy Dean of Students, riddled with white-guilt in today's conservative society.

Not only does the film strike a nerve with me (I'm a black male), but it speaks the volume. While I sympathize for those who face racial challenges on a daily basis, this film doesn't quite conquer the message of that. The film's approach is more so that racism is of the self, and it is not inflicted (at least on screen) towards others. So no, the film is not about racism towards others in the long run, it is about prejudices, self-awareness and self-hate (for those who missed the inclusive, over-the-top ending).

The acting is so-so, the story could've been worked on way better, but it still hits a nerve, so that has to count for something. I am rating this five stars because not every movie with bad reviews should be overlooked, which is something I almost did. But, not every movie is a bad one. Some just outshine others.

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Doesn't quite work January 11, 2012
By Viva
Not only does the plot and motive make no sense, but many of the actors overemote as if they were still on a stage. The rest of it is just plain preachy and annoying.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars provocative theme given clunky treatment April 12, 2010

In "Spinning Into Butter," a small ivy-covered college in Vermont, known for its liberal views and tolerant policies, is rocked by a racial incident aimed at a recently enrolled black student. Soon the incident has exposed a vein of racism running through the faculty and student body that has long lain hidden beneath a veneer of white liberal guilt and political correctness.

Sarah Jessica Parker plays Sarah Daniels, the newly arrived Dean of Students who has to take the lead in quelling the crisis, but who may have issues of her own regarding race to deal with. Veteran actor Beau Bridges also appears as a fellow dean.

Based on the play by Rebecca Gilman (who co-wrote the screenplay with Doug Atchinson), "Spinning Into Butter," directed by Mark Brokaw, starts off with the best of intentions, pinpointing some of the complexities inherent in an issue we too often sweep under the rug in an effort to avoid dealing with it. And the movie does an effective job highlighting the irony that sometimes it is the very well-intentioned efforts we make to try to alleviate the negative effects of racism - quotas, forced integration, segregation in the name of "cultural pride" etc. - that wind up actually exacerbating the problem in the end. The film also makes the rather provocative case that even in a mostly white, socially liberal enclave like Vermont, racism still exists, though since it is rooted more in the subconscious, it is more likely to manifest itself in covert rather than overt ways there. It's a daring and risky theme and one the filmmakers should be congratulated for at least having the courage to bring out in the open.
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