Synopsis by Karl Williams
An ambitious but spoiled rich white kid wins a scholarship to Harvard Law School by pretending to be African-American in this broadly played comedy. After his father cuts him off financially, Mark Watson (C. Thomas Howell) wins a full tuition scholarship to Harvard by claiming to be African-American on the application form. With the help of his best friend, Gordon (Arye Gross), Mark acquires some bronzing pills, a new hairdo, and a lowered voice. Disguised as a black student, Mark thinks that he's going to breeze through the program. The reality of being a minority at a mostly white institution quickly catches up to him, however, when he encounters some tacit racism and falls for Sarah Walker (Rae Dawn Chong), a fellow student whose affection makes him feel guilty about his ruse. Then there's the imperious Professor Banks (James Earl Jones), an African-American instructor who expects him to perform at a higher level than the other students. Soul Man was written by Carol Black and directed by Steve Miner, who would collaborate again for the popular television series The Wonder Years (1988-1993).
college, coming-of-age, con/scam, cross-cultural-relations, deception, disguise, loot, racism, role-switching, romance, scholarship, school