Constellation film review

Year: 2005

Constellation deals with an African-American family dealing with racial and familial issues in Huntsville, Alabama. It stars Billy Dee Williams as a bitter man still harboring the ill-effects of the old South and its prejudiced practices that he holds responsible for his sister’s (Gabrielle Union) life-wasting pursuit of a white man that could not reciprocate her deep love she had for him due to the climate at the time.

Upon the death of his sister, Williams was returns to Huntsville to handle her estate and deal with demons that he has been avoiding for all these years. For reasons not revealed to us, Williams is estranged from his 2 daughters, played by Melissa De Sousa and Zoe Saldana, who did a fantastic job as the jilted daughter/ex-girlfriend. This estranged mystery made it difficult to get into the story because I had nothing else to go on as to why he was estranged from them.

Other issues I had with the film:

I needed more information about Williams’ character. On top of not knowing why he was estranged, I didn’t truly know why he was so bitter and I needed clarification on that. Also, he was a renowned artist yet I never saw him paint until the credits rolled. I wanted to know this man and his pain, but I had nothing else to go on.

Union had absolutely no southern accent; therefore it was hard to connect with the pain of what she was going through during that ugly time period.

I wanted to see a more loving relationship between Union and her forbidden White lover. I didn’t feel any heat between them in which made me want to see and root for them to be together. It seemed extremely one-sided on her part.

The parallel storylines weren’t developed enough for me to be interested in or care, except for Saldana and her lost-relationship with her ex-boyfriend played brilliantly by Hill Harper. Saldana and Harper’s performances were the best redeeming qualities I took with me from this film.

The music was fantastic and Huntsville as a character itself was beautifully shot. The subject matter was powerful and poignant, unfortunately, the writer/director, Jordan Walker-Pearman, left too much out for the audience to put together. It’s due out sometime after Thanksgiving.

Review by Charles Kenneth Maye, © 2005

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