Watching Whitmore in blackface for close to two hours is disturbing, as is the diegetic bleeding heart white liberal struggling to understand blackness in the South. Still, for the 1960's, it does seem to be trying to raise some form of social awareness. The most telling encounter of things to come occurs in the confrontation between Whitmore and his host's son when Whitmore reveals he's passing for black in order to publish a story about it. Unfortunately, the very over-the-top performance of Whitmore makes this somewhat cringe-worthy, as it pays more attention to this aspect than any meaningful social critique.
This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
I think, for me, this film feels very American...but in a kind of depressing/disappointing way that says a lot more about the polluted state of this here national (indie?) cinema and nothing, really, about the people within its borders. It's kind of like a cheap, exploitative fictionalized ethnography that panders to sentimentality and voyeurism. The characters are meant to be taken as wholly unique, right? So, we forgive the mom, we admire the manager, and we love the kid. How…