Soul Man Movie Review Summary

Actors: C. Thomas Howell, Rae Dawn Chong, James Earl Jones

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of Soul Man

An upper-class white student pretends to be black in order to get a scholarship to Harvard. Mark Watson is a spoiled white teenager who has it all: he has rich parents, a cool best friend, and an acceptance letter to Harvard Law. However, things suddenly go awry for Mark when his father tells him he won't be paying for Mark's law degree-- he'll be spending the money on himself instead. This leaves Mark's father free to have fun and Mark in dire straits regarding tuition. He does some heavy research into scholarship options, yet is disheartened to find that the only one he qualifies for is exclusively offered to African-Americans. He then hatches a brilliant scheme: if he takes enough tanning pills, his skin turns dark enough that he may be able to pass himself as black to the scholarship board. Earning the scholarship for African-American students, Mark goes to Harvard, almost immediately realizing the differences between how a white student is treated and a black student is treated. A girl he begins dating says racially insensitive things to him, her family prejudices against him outright, and he is even arrested at one point. He can't even benefit properly from his new position-- he takes a class with black professor, thinking it will give him an advantage over white students, but it turns out his professor doesn't play favorites at all. One positive does come out of his adaptation of an African-American lifestyle: he meets Sarah, a young black Harvard student who at first he befriends but he eventually falls for. However, when he finds out that Sarah was going to get the scholarship before he took it via fraud, he feels incredibly guilty, and he soon must find a way out of this charade without jeopardizing his degree or his relationship.
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Best part of story, including ending: This is a ridiculous film with plenty of offensive material within. There are a few funny moments, and James Earl Jones brings gravitas to the professor role, but that's about it.

Best scene in story: When a young girl comes onto him, trying to relate to him by telling him she feels for all the hardships his people have gone through, his reactions are funny.

Opinion about the main character: Mark is a brat, which makes him a pretty unlikable hero. He's also hopelessly naive when it comes to all things black, so it's tough to root for such an ignorant lead.

The review of this Movie prepared by R.W. Hainline a Level 29 Superb Fruit-Dove scholar

Script Analysis of Soul Man

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Plot & Themes

Comedy, primarily    -   Yes Time/era of movie:    -   1980's-1999 Polit/Social/Race/Gender activism    -   Yes Plotlet:    -   racism! Comedy or Parody about    -   blacks How much humor v. drama    -   Nearly all humor

Main Character

Identity:    -   Male Profession/status:    -   student Age:    -   a teen Ethnicity/Nationality    -   White American


United States    -   Yes The US:    -   Northeast Misc setting    -   school

Writing Style

Accounts of torture and death?    -   no torture/death Sex/nudity in movie?    -   Yes What kind of sex:    -   vague references only Any profanity?    -   Some foul language

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