To Sleep with Anger

Danny Glover, Paul Butler, DeVaughn Nixon

Directed by Charles Burnett
Rolling Stone: star rating
5 0
Community: star rating
5 0 0
October 12, 1990

Danny Glover is an actor of protean gifts. Whether it's action comedy (Lethal Weapons 1 and 2) or drama (Places in the Heart, The Color Purple), he never fails to deliver the goods. But in writer-director Charles Burnett's To Sleep With Anger, Glover outdoes himself, giving the performance of his career to date. Glover plays Harry Mention, a magnetic visitor from the Deep South who comes to stay with an old friend, Gideon (Paul Butler), and Gideon's wife and grown children, in Los Angeles. Harry's effect on this assimilated, black middle-class family is immediate. Harry spins tales full of folklore, lucky charms and bad magic that seem exotic and sometimes ominous to these urban up-and-comers who have lost touch with the rural tradition.

Gideon's rebellious son, Babe Brother (Richard Brooks), feels an instant affinity with Harry. But Gideon's other son, Junior, played by Carl Lumbly, is suspicious. Soon most of the other family members, including Gideon's wife, Suzie (the outstanding Mary Alice), are regarding Harry as a destructive force. It would be unfair to give away too many plot details. Suffice it to say that Burnett (Killer of Sheep) has mixed past and present, poetry and realism, humor and terror, to make a unique and unforgettable film.

Movie Review Main Next


Community Guidelines »
loading comments

loading comments...


Sort by:
    Read More

    Movie Reviews

    More Reviews »
    Around the Web
    Powered By ZergNet
    Daily Newsletter

    Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

    Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
    marketing partners.


    We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

    Song Stories

    “Madame George”

    Van Morrison | 1968

    One of the first stream-of-consciousness epics to make it onto a Van Morrison record, his drawn-out farewell to the eccentric "Madame George" lasted nearly 10 minutes, combining ingredients from folk, jazz and classical music. The character that gave the song its title provoked speculation that it was about a drag queen, though Morrison denied this in Rolling Stone. "If you see it as a male or a female or whatever, it's your trip," he remarked. "I see it as a ... a Swiss cheese sandwich. Something like that."

    More Song Stories entries »