What are some major differences between the original play of A Raisin in the Sun and its 2008 movie?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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There are not many differences between the film and Hansberry's work.  Part of the reason of this was that the director and the actors simply revived the roles they were doing in their Broadway production of Hansberry's work from 2004.  Outside of the obvious differences in translating any theatrical drama to the screen, I think that one major difference was that Hansberry's work seems to imply a great deal of doubt and insecurity that the 2008 film lacked.  There was an evident "preachiness" or sense of the didactic in the 2008 version that was noticeably missing from Hansberry's work.  Part of this might lie in the time period.  Hansberry's work articulates a condition that is really uncertain.  At a time in American History when Civil Rights was still a dream, when segregation laws in the South and covert racism in the North were palpable, Hansberry's arguments were radical.  They were groundbreaking because their assertions were rooted in the fundamental belief that doubt and insecurity shrouded any hope of affirmation.  This is not as evident in the movie, primarily because, of the time in which we live.  For better or worse, there is a greater sense of racial equality now than back then, making Hansberry's claims seem more didactic than what might have been their original intention.  The very fact that the film can draw stars like Sean Combs is another indication of a different cultural valence between the time of the film and Hansberry's context.

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