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Bamboozled – Movie Review

by Izzy Kalman (May 2003)

I just saw “Bamboozled” (2001), a fascinating, powerful film by Spike Lee. The protagonist, Pierre Delacroix, is a Black TV writer who comes up with an idea for a hit show: satirizing the demeaning way the white entertainment establishment characterized Black people in the early years of movies and television. While different people will certainly relate to different aspects of this complex film, what caught me was Pierre’s monologue about humor. It practically sounded like something out of my seminars! He understands that humor is about putting people down, and that healing wounds of past discrimination can be accomplished by making fun of the past rather than continuing to be hypersensitive about it.

The TV show turns out to be a great hit. Tragically, the show is too hard for many people to stomach. What is meant to heal and entertain sickens and enrages others, leading to the bloody demise of Delacroix and many others. Humor may be the best medicine, but it can also have deadly consequences when people aren’t ready for it.

I won’t say that I like everything about this film, but it is certainly worth seeing. If you like movies that make you think, this one should not disappoint you.

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