Sidney (2022)

‘Sidney’ chronicles a life well-lived

Produced by Oprah Winfrey, Reginald Hudlin’s comprehensive biography of the late Sidney Poitier is a rousing experience that’s an endless source of inspiration. Accentuated by insightful commentary from Poitier himself – along with the likes of Oscar-winners Denzel Washington, Halle Berry, Spike Lee and Morgan Freeman – Hudlin highlights the actor-director-activist’s consummate blend of talent, integrity and most of all, balls. As Spike rightly says, Poitier was Hollywood’s version of Jackie Robinson, clearing the path to ensure future Black stars would no longer be reduced to playing servants and bug-eyed comedic roles.

Poitier died earlier this year just short of his 95th birthday. Pretty remarkable, considering he was given up for dead as an infant born two months premature in 1927 on the remote Bahamian island of Cat. From that point on, survival became his driving force, as he immigrated to Florida at 15, battled poverty, illiteracy, racism and typecasting before emerging as a bankable, crossover star. And he did it by always being his own man.

The Oscar he received in 1964 for his performance in “Lillies of the Field” came at the height of the civil rights movement and made him a close confidant of Martin Luther King Jr., along with eventual lifelong pal and competition, Harry Belafonte. And it’s that relationship with Belafonte that is the heart of the film. “They were like a married couple,” explains one of Poitier’s six daughters. “They would fight, divorce and get married over and over.”

Even if you think you already know Poitier well, you’ll be surprised what you’ll learn from “Sidney,” not the least of which is that he forever changed the world by humanizing Blacks in a way white America never before imagined.

Movie review


Rated: PG-13 for some smoking, some language and racial slurs

Featuring: Sidney Poitier, Harry Belafonte, Denzel Washington, Halle Berry, Spike Lee and Morgan Freeman

Director: Reginald Hudlin

Runtime: 107 minutes

Where to see: Apple TV+

Grade: A-

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