Friday, August 12, 2011

Diahann Carroll in "Claudine"

Diahann Carroll received her only Oscar nomination for playing Claudine.

Even though Claudine was a film made to try to overcome the negativity of blacksplotation, I can't help but feel the film is riddled with black cliches. It not as 'in your face' as alot of other films of the time, but it still has the bittersweet taste of dealing with situations that I'm sure empowered audiences at the time, but now feel overcooked, like the pregnant daughter for example, extremely poorly handled. But, the story of Claudine is a simple one: an underprivileged black woman in Harlem who tries to raise her six children who are all a challenge themselves. She ends up having a romance with a cheerful garbageman.

Diahann Carroll plays the conflicted Claudine; she immediately shows her as a woman who may struggle, but takes pride in herself and does not want pity, although she receives welfare. Claudine is a straight-forward character who seems to fight off the idea of falling in love but secretly wonders what it would be like again to be taken care of. I hate to say Carroll plays Claudine on one-note, but in alot of ways, she does. It's not a bad note, but I hate how Carroll can only take Claudine so far and backs off from going even farther, and then there are those certain scenes that are badly acted.

The scene where she beats her daughter over a pregnancy is horrible, and her chemistry with James Earl Jones (horrible) is a little non-existent. However, Diahann Carroll still gives a great and interesting performance. She holds the movie together seamlessly and is able to at least communicate her sentimentality to the audience. It may not be breathtaking, but it's still a great performance.

3 comments:

joe burns said...

the movie okay, but it once it takes the welfare route, it falls apart.


She is quite strong actually, but something does feel one-note about her, but I felt it was slight. A four to four and a half from me.

dinasztie said...

I really liked her. She was great.

hey deanie said...

I must say I'm surprised – I remember you quite liking her waaaaaaaay back when and ranking her third! Oh well, I'm glad you thought it was a great performance. I love her, of course, she's spectacular.