The Brother from Another Planet (1984) Other movies recommended for you
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Plot: The Brother is an alien who has crash-landed on Earth, in New York City. While mute, strongly empathic, and able to fix things, he resembles a Black man with strange feet. His attempt to make a place for himself in Harlem is an allegory for the immigrant experience in the United States. Meanwhile,… Runtime: 108 min Release Date: 08 Nov 1984
A fantastic, multi-layered sci-fi parable... (by davidals)
*Minor spoilers*It's great to see this odd and remarkable film finally getting a worthwhile DVD release. BROTHER FROM ANOTHER PLANET is among the few John Sayles films I've seen, and watching it again makes me want to check out what else I might have missed.Blending sly topical humor with science fiction, BROTHER FROM... superficially resembles ALPHAVILLE or MAN WHO FELL TO EARTH as it explores various themes: assimilation, perception and identity; and technology and control; along with less abstract but equally serious issues like drug abuse and urban despair. This fantastic film is <more>
notable for its' dry humor and complex observation of urban problems, and is also notable for Joe Morton's astonishing, expressive performance in a mute role, which - though helped by Morton's theatrical training and his overall attractiveness - still has to be seen to be believed.Crash landing his tiny space ship in Harlem, our silent hero tries to make sense of his surroundings, moving from fear and puzzlement to relative comfort. Because of his dark skin, certain assumptions are instantly made of him, even as his silence gives no one anything to hang a stereotype on. It quickly becomes apparent that 'he ain't from around here.' The edgy humor turns on this pay attention for great spoof quotes from TERMINATOR and TREASURE OF THE SIERRA MADRE/BLAZING SADDLES - not so p.c. at the surface, but still broad-minded and intelligently observational, with an intriguing viewpoint - that of a very disoriented immigrant dropped into the American subculture he's expected to most easily fit into. Simultaneously, his quiet and graceful manner of dealing with the world around him implies an unquestionable conviction that every human ought to be considered with some kind of respect and dignity, even as day-to-day realities might necessarily modify this ideal another of the key themes here . A short subplot involving a nightclub singer touches vaguely upon Harlem's celebrated past, making apparent Sayles' belief in the contemporary value of history, and his awareness of the importance of context even in a fantastical story. Likewise, a second subplot - though a tad clumsy - deals with Harlem's more recent history - a struggle to survive and preserve identity through an avalanche of drugs, potential violence and despair. As a runaway slave from another world, themes of technology, surveillance and control shown in the eyeball/flashback scenes, and the great capture scene near the end are also introduced, even as Sayles' references African-American history at unexpected moments throughout "My people built this country. Ever heard of South Carolina?..." - implying to a degree that technology can easily be manipulated to make slaves of us all, or at least that technology hold the potential to divorce us from our history. With all of the varied themes and subplots, BROTHER FROM... could've easily become overloaded or didactic, but Sayles' loose stylishness and light touch as a director along with the skill of the cast makes it all work well, even with a very modest budget and a tight shooting schedule. The cinematography throughout is remarkable - lots of long takes, with characters woven into the fabric of everyday life. The pacing is slow and methodical Sayles is always very meticulous in developing plot and characters , but never dull.This is a great film - below a hip and ironic surface, the covert intellect and graceful sweetness of this film links its' numerous themes into a seamless and unique fantasy/parable. This cult classic from the mid-80s deserved a wider audience at the time, and still does - I strongly recommend it.
This is one of the best and most underrated movies I have ever seen. This is a brilliant black comedy with great social commentary on racism and classism. I loved it the first time I saw it, and it held up when I bought it on DVD. This is definitely worth the time it takes to watch it, and you will find yourself quoting the movie later. The "Beer . . . on the Rocks" quote is my personal favorite, but the card trick is a close second. Have fun with this little known, early John Sayles Masterpiece.
Great film (by TuesdayNight)
I love this film! Lots of laughs, lots of humanity. It's awesome that such an unknown cast can deliver such a great performance. The guys in the bar are hysterical. Every scene is a gem, but the card trick on the subway is one of my all time favorites. Go rent this movie today. 10 out of 10.
Typical Sayles (by k4man123)
What I love about Sayles is that he never forgets that first and foremost, movies should tell stories.This one is a real gem in the rough. It has the irreverence and SciFi conventions of Barry Sonnenfeld's MIB but with social commentary instead of a budget. Also, instead of merely clever comments on NYC life, Sayles shows his characteristic political side by highlighting little tableaux of real life. Slipping in the Harriet Tubman subplot was pure Sayles.I especially loved his usage of music and the chemistry of the barroom regulars. That fight with the MIB was a hoot! Sayles, a Corman <more>
vet, knows that special effects shouldn't be used for the sake of having them.
This film has been a favorite of mine since I first saw it. The Brother from Another Planet was featured at the French-American film festival in my temporary hometown of Avignon, France in the spring/summer of 1984, and I saw it in the Utopia theater there, a venue equal to this enchanting, unusual film. My own situation informed my viewing; as I had recently graduated from college and flown to France to work for the summer before heading into "the 'real' world" , Brother spoke to me about life as a foreigner "without a voice." I was self-conscious about my French <more>
and had chosen to spend my early weeks there silently observing. The parallels were too many to enumerate. My reactions were visceral; I appreciated the situations more than had I been viewing with a majority American audience. Separate from my personal perspective, however, I believe the film depicts a wonderful cross-section of characters who were simultaneously of their era and archetypal; I enjoyed "meeting" the compendium the Brother met and seeing them through his eyes. Joe Morton was skilled at communicating without words, conveying emotion and thoughtfulness in his character's truly alien environment. The interplanetary bounty hunters, my personal favorites, were clearly inspirations for the later "Men in Black" feature franchise. I'm glad I saw them before MIB debuted. There was nothing formulaic about this story. Sayles' fresh approach made me into a lifelong fan; he is a storyteller whose tales are always worth the trip. For a film with the potential for both scintillating discussion or simply quirky-but-never-shallow entertainment, check out The Brother.
I saw this movie on the late, late movie on TV in the mid '80s, and it's a show that I have never forgotten. It's about an intergalactic slave that crash lands on Ellis Island in NYC, and he learns about the "human condition" while running away from galactic bounty hunters. The subject matter is serious, and shows the plight of African Americans in the US and some of the issues that they deal with on a daily basis like drugs, segregation & negative stereotypes. Underneath the serious subject matter, there is some subtle humour thrown in. One part that stands out is <more>
when Joe Morton is confronted on the street by a religious fund-raiser. In the background there are some guys having an argument, it looks like they are arguing with someone that's in the window of the building on the block. It also has a very real edge to it, which is one of the many charms this movie exudes. This movie wasn't made on a big budget, but at the same time it manages to stand it's own against some other big budget movies of it's time. Joe Morton plays the alien, and makes the role his own. He doesn't speak throughout the entire movie, but manages to say a lot with his facial expressions and body language. This movie really showcases the raw talent that Joe Morton has as an actor. Anytime I have seen him in other TV shows & movies, this film always flashes back to me. It's available on DVD, but unfortunately the master used does not give the respect that this movie solely deserves. They should put recorded in "Vantage Vision" on the cover of the keep-case. At the same time I am glad that I have been able to purchase this movie, because it is a cherished addition to my DVD library.
When Rod Serling created the classic "Twilight Zone" TV show, he presented it as a harmless fantasy/SF show when it was actually a series of morality plays. In this film you have John Sayles' take on the same concept. He talks a standard SF cliche -- the stranded ET -- and uses it as the jumping-off place for a story about something altogether different. He doesn't appear at the end, like Serling, and tell you what the moral or message was. Rather than talk about all that art appreciation and interpretation is pretty much a subjective affair , I would like to say a word or <more>
two about the performance of Mr. Joe Morton as the eponymous character:Zowie!The Brother is totally mute. And yet Morton's performance knocks the poop out of any piece of acting you could name. Human and humane, empathetic and sympathetic. This guy will have you laughing and crying right along with him.An incredible performance. Well worth the price of the rental, and the popcorn, and the gas that you burned up picking it up and...
Now Here Is Something Different! (by ccthemovieman-1)
Can you say "different?" Have often do you see a movie in which the lead character never utters one word?That's the case here, a unique story of an alien who crashes near Harlem, a famous black neighborhood in New York City. The alien is a black man, so he fits in despite not being able to speak! He's just looked upon as another "brother," as the title indicates.Two aliens come after him - white guys, naturally. In the Liberal world of films, white people are bad and black people are good 99 percent of the time.....at least when there is a contrast between the two. <more>
Writer-director John Sayles is a prime example of this type of racist thinking. But he wrote a fun film here, I have to give him that.Even though some of the scenes make absolutely no sense, it's an entertaining movie start- to-finish. Joe Morton plays the sympathetic alien with three toes and strange nails. You have to root for him because he's portrayed as such an innocent, harmless creature.The best part of the film is the humor, some subtle, some not-so-subtle. The guys in the neighborhood bar where the alien hangs out brought the biggest laughs.I find this a lot of fun to watch every three or four years.
The Brother From Another Planet, is about an African American alien who crash lands on Earth in Harlem, in New York City. The brother does not speak English or any language at all but he can understand others and soon makes friends at a local bar and gets a job fixing things. He also gets a place to stay, lodging with a single mother. Many things on Earth seem unusual to the brother and he encounters many unusual people and situations. Soon we also find out about two men in black who are after the brother and want to get rid of him. He also shows his many alien talents during the film. <more>
Winner of The Caixa de Catalunya Award for Best Actor Joe Morton, who plays the brother and Best Screenplay John Sayles, who also directed and edited the film at The Catalonian International Film Festival. The Brother From Another Planet, has good direction, a good script, a good performance by Joe Morton, as well as a good supporting cast, good original music, good cinematography and good film editing. The Brother From Another Planet, takes a little while to get into but gives us an entertaining story, a likable main character and likable side characters, interesting situations and the script is filled with good dialogue, good character development, is full of smart satire and unusual characters and lots of unique situations and plot twists. The film is quite enjoyable and entertaining and is deliciously different. I enjoyed this film quite a bit and it is a nice clever sci-fi/comedy.