The Long Walk Home

Sissy Spacek and Whoopi Goldberg star as a well-to-do southern lady and her servant in Montgomery, Alabama, during the bus boycott that launched the civil rights movement in the mid-50s. Thanks to good dialogue and meticulous research involving the place and period, this 1990 drama is much more creditable and authentic than either Mississippi Burning or Driving Miss Daisy, and the self-congratulatory tone of those films is kept to a relative minimumalthough one regrets the degree to which the focus gradually shifts here from Goldberg’s character to Spacek’s, a well-meaning white liberal. The only flaw in the otherwise fine casting and handling of southern accents is in the directing of some of the black actors, including the otherwise effective Goldberg, who curiously are made to seem less southern than the white folks. With Dwight Schultz, Ving Rhames, Dylan Baker (who’s especially good), Erika Alexander, and narration by Mary Steenburgen. Richard Pearce directed from a script by John Cork. (JR)

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