Six Degrees of Separation

Six Degrees of Separation

DVD - 2000
Average Rating:
4
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When Manhattan art dealers take a young man into their home believing him to be a friend of their children and Sidney Poitier's son, he leaves them with a lasting impression.
Publisher: Santa Monica, CA : MGM Home Entertainment, 2000.
ISBN: 9780792846482
0792846486
Characteristics: 1 videodisc (112 min.) :,sd., col. ;,12 cm.
Alternative Title: 6 degrees of separation [dvd]

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Nursebob
Feb 04, 2015

John Guare’s hugely popular stage play makes an uneven and not entirely successful transition to the screen. Flan and Ouisa are a pretentious upper-class couple who’ve made millions buying and selling other people’s art collections. When a young black man shows up at their penthouse door, bleeding from a recent mugging and claiming to be a good friend of their children, they initially react with guarded skepticism. But it isn’t long before the charming young Paul has them eating out of the palm of his hand with his witty ripostes and clever banter. When he casually mentions he is the son of Sidney Poitier he has them hooked. All is not as it seems however and a few days later they discover that they are not the only Upper Eastside couple to be visited by “Paul Poitier”. What starts out as a farcical look at the banality of Manhattan’s privileged gentry soon takes a serious turn as the couple begin to peel away Paul’s facade to reveal the true motives behind his actions. Indeed, facades loom heavily in this somewhat one-sided sermon against petty bourgeois values. In trying to emulate the wealthy lifestyle he so desires Paul acts as a mirror in which some characters begin to see the various charades they play in their own lives....the crooked deals, the forced bonhomie, and the amusing strings of anecdotes that serve as a substitute for actually living. Paul may be an impostor but he ends up being the only “genuine” person in the entire movie. This is when things get bogged down. The ensuing rhetoric has a certain air of self-righteousness about it as revelations are made and angry indictments are leveled. It would seem that anyone with a top-floor view of Central Park is just a big phony. To be fair, the script is certainly clever and Schepisi makes the most of his Manhattan settings. Furthermore there are some commendable performances, most notably Stockard Channing in the role of Ouisa. I guess some plays just don’t translate well into movies.

n
nptphoto
Aug 06, 2013

Brilliant, funny, poignant play by John Guare arrived on the big screen 20 years ago watered down almost to the point of total irrelevance. It's difficult to say which is more harmful: the catastrophic miscasting of the literal-minded realist director Fred Schepisi (the inspired insanity of Milos Forman would surely have proved a more apt choice) OR the wretched miscasting of no-talent then-novice Will Smith in a role played to perfection on Broadway by Courtney Vance. Smith, going on bad advice from his fellow hack Denzel Washington, REFUSED to kiss another male actor, although he signed on to play a gay character. This, however, is only one reason that the life went out of a once dynamically moving story. On stage, it was all Stockard. The movie "opens up" too literally, and thus diminishes the interior life of the character who matters most. I would hope this gets re-filmed one day by a director who gives a damn about the playwright's ideas and insights, by a director bold enough to say TO HELL with commercial box-office concessions.

n
neonkc
Dec 22, 2012

very good

g
GHN
Jan 09, 2012

It's like a sitcom or a talk show. With a few good writers, the producer can easily make one movie per week. WIth excellent casts, this movie deserves 4 stars.

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