Lilies of the Field1963
Lilies of the Field (1963)
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Critic Reviews for Lilies of the Field
Lilies of the Field is a funny, sentimental, charming and uplifting film, in which intelligence, imagination and energy are proved again to be beyond the price of any super-budget.
Many factors combine in the overall success of the film, notably the restrained direction by Ralph Nelson, a thoroughly competent screenplay by James Poe, and, of course, Poitier's own standout performance.
It might be significant as an early independent movie made good, but Poitier got better when he got angrier for In the Heat of the Night four years later.
Simple and optimistic as the images, but provided with a captivating personality. [Full Review in Spanish]
Audience Reviews for Lilies of the Field
It's all about timing, and the time (1963) was right for this hopefully uplifting take on racism. Sidney Portier plays a traveling construction worker gulled into building a chapel for some transplanted East German nuns out in the middle-of-nowhere. A lot of it is obvious pandering anymore, sure, but the sentiment beneath allows some little forgiveness for it's many failings (like the obvious overdubbing of Portier's voice for the sing-along portions.
A laborer accepts a group of nuns' requests to build a church. Is it possible for a film to be both evangelical and light-hearted? They seem like a contradictory adjectives, but somehow the delightful exuberance of Sidney Poitier make the film work. He has an easy charm that contrasts nicely with the nuns' severity. The film's themes, include faith and stewardship, aren't heavy-handed or explored in any depth, but they're there, and the film is as catchy as the gospel tune that Poitier repeatedly sings. Overall, this isn't a canonical, except for the fact that Poitier became the first African-American to win Best Actor, but it's a fine time and entertaining couple of hours.
Poitier does his usual thing..this time giving a grand performance with a bunch of nuns. While the move is good, it does border on poor sentimentality. For this reason alone, I deduct a half star.
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