The Brother from Another Planet (1984)

Genres - Comedy, Science Fiction  |   Sub-Genres - Fantasy Comedy, Urban Comedy  |   Release Date - Sep 7, 1984 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 110 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - R
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Review by Keith Phipps

In John Sayles' return to independent filmmaking after his unhappy experience with Baby It's You, The Brother From Another Planet takes a wonderful premise and then works it for all it's worth almost to the end. After decades of extraterrestrials who unfailingly resembled earthlings of European descent, Sayles offers a visitor of a different hue, which is a clever comment in itself. The writer/director then proceeds to examine the assumptions created by those his protagonist encounters, both black and white, based solely on the color of his skin. Without overstating matters until an overwrought finale, Sayles expertly balances comedy with social commentary, hanging it all on a superb, wordless performance by Joe Morton. The size of his themes has caused many to overlook the subtlety of Sayles' work, a quality on conspicuous display here.