Preview by: Jack Foley
DRE (Taye Diggs) and Sidney (Sanaa Lathan) can attribute their
friendship and the launch of their careers to a single childhood
moment - the day they discovered hip-hop on a New York street
Now some 15 years later, she is a revered music critic and he
is a successful, though unfulfilled music executive.
As they lay down the tracks toward their futures, hip-hop isn't
the only thing that keeps them coming back to that moment on the
Directed by Rick Famuyiwa (The Wood), Brown Sugar stars Taye
Diggs (How Stella Got Her Groove Back), Sanaa Lathan (Love &
Basketball), Mos Def (Monster's Ball), Nicole Ari Parker (Remember
The Titans), Boris Kodjoe (Love & Basketball) and Queen Latifah
The screenplay is written by Michael Elliot (Like Mike) and Rick
Famuyiwa based on a story by Elliot.
According to screenwriter, Mike Elliot, the story was designed
to fill a void in a particular movie genre.
"I always felt like all the great love stories weren't ones
that had black people in them," he explains.
"I just wanted to create something really romantic that
by the end of the movie, touched you."
Elliot decided to base the story on lifelong friends who, as
adults, come to the realization that they are also in love with
Once he had worked with the basic concepts of the love story,
Elliot placed Sidney and Dre against a background he was intimately
familiar with, the world of hip-hop music.
"I had the desire to create a love story inside a world
that I loved. It just made sense," he concludes.
The ensuing romance was generally greeted by favourable reviews
in the US.
Leading the way is the Chicago Sun-Times, which awarded
it three out of four, and wrote that the film is 'observant about
The New York Times referred to it as 'an amiable uptown
remake of My Best Friend's Wedding', while Reel.com felt
that it is 'inoffensive, even charming at times, but there is
never any doubt as to how the story will end'.
Salon wrote that 'Sanaa Lathan and Taye Diggs shine',
while the Hollywood Reporter felt that Brown Sugar is 'an
agreeably charming, brightly performed romantic comedy,.
Less impressed, though still favourable, were the likes of Entertainment
Weekly, which awarded it only a C+, but wrote that it is 'so
earnest in its yearning for the days before rap went nihilistic
that it summons more spirit and bite than your average formulaic
And E! Online awarded it B+ and wrote that it is 'worth
Being a film about hip-hop it is little wonder to find some great
names on the soundtrack.
Names such as, Mos Def, Eric B and Rakim (Paid in Full), Cassandra
Wilson (covering Cyndi Lauper's Time After Time), Mary J Blige
(Never Been), and the Roots (Act Too (Love of My Life)) - to name
but a few
To celebrate the release of Brown Sugar on July 18, IndieLondon
is offering its readers the chance to win Brown Sugar T-shirts,
record bags and soundtracks.
All you have to do is click on the competition link to the right
hand-side of this page.
Needless to say, a full review of the film will appear on these
pages in due course.