STARRING: Joe Morton, Darryl Edwards, Steve James, Leonard Jackson, Bill Cobbs, Maggie Renzi, Tom Wright, Ren Woods

1984, 104 Minutes, Directed by: John Sayles

Description: Joe Morton plays an extraterrestrial whose spaceship crashes in New York Harbor. When he swims ashore, he finds that most of Harlem is filled with earthlings who look just like him. He can't speak, but he quickly learns to communicate; he also finds ways to understand these strange, quarrelsome creatures, who seem to talk forever without really saying much.

The adjectives that come to mind when describing The Brother from Another Planet are "off-beat", "charming" and "clever." Unfortunately "erratic" also comes to mind when describing this tale about an alien (who can't - or doesn't want to - speak) that pitches up in Harlem, New York. The alien is a thirtysomething Black man with strange feet and the movie and the movie closely follows his travails as he tries to cope with and/or understand life in the Big Apple.

Mostly a character study, the film consists of some cleverly and funnily written vignettes that vary in quality. Around halfway through the movie, The Brother from Another Planet seems to float around directionless and one finds oneself involuntary eyeing one's wristwatch.

Despite this, clever satire abound and one switches off the VCR quite touched by the on-screen proceedings. The Brother from Another Planet is an excellent example of what can be achieved with a very small budget and a good screenplay.

It was written and directed (and edited!) by John Sayles who spends one half of his movie career writing screenplays for the likes of Alligator and Battle Beyond the Stars to make money to finance intensely personal indie gems such as this movie and the likes of The Secret of Roan Inish and Matewan. Recommended if you're getting sick and tired of empty-headed big budget sci-fi epics like Armageddon.


Sci-Fi Movie Page Pick: Shock! Horror! Sci-fi movie with REAL characters! Charming, low-key, offbeat, charming and well, charming movie. Featuring some great character vignettes, this movie by indie legend John Sayles will leave you with a silly grin.


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