Peter Eramo Reviews: “Spinning Into Butter” (*)

This film has a lot to say…on some very intriguing and crucial topics concerning our society. However, in the hands of its writers (Doug Atchison and Rebecca Gilman adapting from her poorly constructed play), it is painful to sit through for its unrealistic dialogue throughout. Five minutes in, I thought the film was condescending to the viewer…it got worse and worse as it went along.

The film stars the very popular (but I’m not sure why) Sarah Jessica Parker, who I admittedly have a tough time watching. She plays a school dean at a predominantly white college in Vermont who once taught at a more multicultural, urban school and developed deep prejudices against minorities. Now she is expected to be the spokesperson for the few minority students after a terrible hate crime has occured on campus. She is also asked by school administration to write up a 10-point bullet list on how to “resolve” racism. Parker is game and up to the task, but unfortunately looks foolish doing so – no fault of her own really. The script and poor direction do it all for her.

The very talented Miranda Richardson is given horrible direction here (by Mark Brokaw)…playing a simplistic, one-dimensional caricature along with the rest of this cast…all given unbelievable and embarrassing lines to speak. If you want to make a meaningful or even lasting statement on a subject as serious and as important as race relations, you better put it in the hands of an effective writer and a director who can relay that vision to the audience in a provocative manner. Instead, both writers and director here manage to exploit, patronize and humiliate the very characters who they believe they are speaking for.

Near the end of the film, Mykelti Williamson screams to the student who is responsible for the hate crimes going around on campus (which was predictable in itself): “This is an embarrassment!” I think he was speaking for everyone involved in this empty, embarrassing film. Skip it…save your time….you’re welcome!

Film: Spinning Into Butter
Year: 2009
Director: Mark Brokaw

Rating: * (out of 4 stars)


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