Picks and Pans Review: The Piano Lesson
updated 02/06/1995 AT 01:00 AM EST
•originally published 02/06/1995 AT 01:00 AM EST
Re-creating the Broadway triumph that launched his career, Roc's Charles Dutton plays Boy Willie, who travels in 1936 from the cotton fields of Mississippi to Pittsburgh to inveigle his sister (Alfre Woodard) into selling the family heirloom, a decorative stand-up piano. Boy Willie is desperate for money to buy the land his family once worked as slaves. Carl Gordon, Courtney B. Vance and Lou Myers costar in this Hallmark Hall of Fame adaptation of August Wilson's Pulitzer Prize-winning play.
This tale—much like the piano that sits at its center—is archaic but resonant. The film is beautifully acted, particularly by the irrepressibly rambunctious Dutton.