The Long Walk Home

Sissy Spacek and Whoopi Goldberg play 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; Richard Pearce directed from a script by John Cork. Thanks to good dialogue and meticulous research involving the place and period, this is a much more creditable and authentic job than either Mississippi Burning or Driving Miss Daisy, and the self-congratulatory tone of the aforementioned films is kept to a relative minimum–although one regrets the degree to which the focus gradually shifts 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 Pearce’s direction 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 Alexander, Dylan Baker (who’s especially good), Erika Alexander, and narration by Mary Steenbergen. (Esquire, Wilmette)

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