Picks and Pans Review: Common Ground
The ugly furor over Boston school busing in the '70s is expansively told through the lives of two poor, single mothers. C.C.H. Pounder is bringing up six children in the black ghetto of Roxbury, while Jane Curtin is raising seven in Charlestown's white slum. Pounder gives a heart-tugging performance, but Curtin is an absolute revelation as an Irishwoman of the projects—except when the script's sentimentality hems her in. Richard Thomas, however, is a washout as a young Harvard-educated lawyer. Maybe it's unfair to single out Thomas's ridiculous stab at a Boston accent. After all, the movie is rife with them. Although it has moments of powerful dramatic impact, this mini (which concludes on Tuesday) could have been vastly improved by editing it to TV-movie length. By the time it rounds the far turn on Tuesday night, things have gotten completely away from director Michael Newell. Still, it's unutterably sad to watch these impoverished Bostonians fight each other so bitterly over the scraps from the American feast.
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