Soul Food | Chicago Reader

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Three sisters (Vanessa L. Williams, Vivica Fox, and Nia Long), their husbands, their mother, and one son experience the comedy and tragedy of their interconnected lives during and between regular Sunday dinners. This 1997 saga of misguided intentions, betrayals, kindnesses, and overarching devotion is set unobtrusively in Chicago and periodically narrated—in voice-over that avoids distancing us with omniscience or patronizing us with too much hindsight—by Ahmad (Brandon Hammond), who's deeply affected by his aunts' difficulties and his parents' success in maintaining marital relationships. Director George Tillman Jr.'s screenplay covers an array of events in the characters' lives so replete with drama it could easily be too much, but the movie's humor is vibrant, the sorrow unexploitive, the sexuality character enhancing, and the love heartfelt—and Tillman is tremendously skilled at bridging the vast shifts in tone. 114 min.

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