Friends in Foreign Times
Sometimes as a movie reviewer I feel like saying just watch a movie and judge for yourself. It may sound a cop out but sometimes you watch a movie which works for several reasons but also for how it makes you feel and "Sudie and Simpson" is one of those movies. You see it is easy to tell you what goes on in this made for TV movie about a friendship between a white girl and a black man but to explain how it charms you is not so straight forwards and is why I say watch and judge for your self.
In the Georgia town of Linlow with the threat of war going on young Sudie Harrigan (Sara Gilbert - Riding in Cars With Boys) stumbles across Simpson (Louis Gossett Jr. - Jaws 3), a coloured man in the woods having never met one before. Despite Sudie's fear having heard all the bad things about coloured folk and Simpson's fear that she will tell the men of Linlow about him they become friends with Sudie heading off in to the woods when ever she can to chat with him.
So for the most "Sudie and Simpson" is this simple story of a friendship between a white kid and a negro at a time when racism was rife. It is based on Sarah Flanigan Carter's autobiographical novel and is a charming tale of innocence, friendship and understanding. That is not all there is to it as there is another side to this movie which I have not mentioned, a darker side which works as a moral opposite to the friendship storyline and it is an uncomfortable one.
The thing is that this sort of thing isn't unusual, I can think of several movies which thrives on the innocent friendship between a white child and a coloured man or woman. But "Sudie and Simpson" has something more and that is two great performances. On one hand you have the young Sara Gilbert as Sudie who charms you with her innocence but maturity in the way she becomes a friend to Simpson which makes you feel for her later on when something dark happens. And then there is Louis Gossett Jr. who as Simpson makes it look so easy, he has the charm, the friendliness which makes him such a wonderful character, a warm giving person. You almost wonder whether Gossett had lived the life he was portraying he makes it look so right. And together Gossett and Gilbert are simply marvellous and are why this movie stands up against other similar movies.
What this all boils down to is that Sudie and Simpson" is one of those movies which is easy to explain but not so easy to explain how it makes you feel. It has great writing and great performances which makes you never want it to end.