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maryann johanson | #BlackLivesMatter

Sounder (review)

It’s fine and warm and satisfying and, yes, inspiring, but this second adaptation of the novel by William H. Armstrong mostly just inspires us to ask, simply, Why? The 1972 original was nominated for multiple Oscars and continues to bewitch viewers today, so why remake it? Kids will enjoy the tale of the coonhound named Sounder and his boy (sweet-faced Daniel Lee Robertson) in the rural, Depression-era South, and parents who don’t just want the tube as a brainless babysitter will appreciate that the film doesn’t sugarcoat the lives of backbreaking work, extreme discrimination, and frequent deprivation faced by black sharecroppers even if that makes for a fairly grim story: the boy’s father (a passionate Carl Lumbly) goes to prison for stealing food for his family, forcing his son to grow up fast. This remake is directed by Kevin Hooks, who played the boy in the 1972 original, which inspires the notion that the film was remade merely because, you know, who would object? You’d probably still be better off with the original, though.

MPAA: rated TV PG-V

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