Will Smith's performance in The Pursuit Of Happyness made me want to see more of his dramatic work. Sure, the action stuff is a hoot. And he's quite good in a comedy. But I really dig his dramatic turns. But, I have this thing about watching most movies twice...Which ruled out Ali, and I, Robot and Enemy Of The State.
While looking over his resume, I realized I had never seen Smith's Six Degrees Of Separation.
Netflix, work your magic.
I was eager to see the flick, mostly because I've read for years how Smith came off like a huge pro in his first significant, big-time movie role. But, the day the red envelope arrived I sat it aside. It's been a busy, busy week and I was just barely getting by. Watching a movie from 1993 that I knew all about anyway wasn't a high priority.
It felt almost as senseless as watching movies more than once.
I mean, what sort of goofball does that?
My Aunt Linda and this guy are the only two I know...
Life settled down last evening and I popped the red envelope open and slipped the wide-screen version into the DVD player. Settled in, ready to take in that Will Smith magic. I knew the story, which was loosely based on real events, about a confidence man in New York City who pretended to be the son of Sidney Poitier in order to get close to (and sometimes burglarize) wealthy folks. I expected Smith to have the meatiest role, and to carry the film.
I was surprised to discover that it's Stockard Channing, the film's female lead, who really carried Six Degrees. Her Ouisa Kittredge opens the film (in which she co-stars with Donald Sutherland) portraying the character as a shallow aristocrat who flits about sampling life rather than really participating in it. She expects this is how rich folks live, I think, and designed an existence to fit that stereotypical lifestyle. We quickly realize that the introduction to Smith's character Paul changes Kittredge. It makes her feel for, maybe, the first time. To question herself, and her direction. Makes her realize the power of relationships, and from connecting intimately with another human beings.
(Even if that other human being is a con man.)
I really enjoyed Six Degrees Of Separation, especially after I realized the whirlwind that is the first 20 minutes is intended--and necessary--in order to understand the shallow, moment-by-moment existence of the Kittredge couple. The flick is entertaining, and reminds you to pay attention to the really important things in life.
And Will Smith wasn't too bad, either.