I went in expecting, just based on the preview, a step down from Mo’ Better Blues. And for the first half hour or so, it was. The professional drama was a bit lazy and the affair doesn’t feel earned or seeded in any way. But Lee wasn’t interested in those parts. He was interested in the backlash, the ripple effect that runs through both characters’ social circles. The range of conversations and confrontations that erupt from this simple mixed race…
Lesser Lee but he's still young and hungry with this one which is probably why it ultimately works. Denzel's overall arc is a bit contrived and most of the supporting characters (particularly the female ones) aren't given their due but it's an overall pleasant time. A pretty standard fable about the pitfalls of success and prioritizing one's art over a personal life; possibly a bit autobiographical given when this came out in Lee's own career. Obviously, it's far from the stick of dynamite that Do The Right Thing was but I'm sure Lee needed the palate cleanser.