A single woman with six children tries to make a life with a garbageman in Harlem.
It's easy to get hooked by
, a lean, funny, Nixon-era movie about a romance nearly undone by a patronizing welfare system. Diahann Carroll stars as Claudine, single mother of six children in Harlem and a maid working for under-the-table wages. Forever worried that her white caseworker will discover her meager, outside income (thus eliminating meager government benefits), Claudine further complicates her domestic situation by falling in love with Roop (James Earl Jones). An affable Romeo and absent but financially supportive father of several kids, Roop by his presence jeopardizes Claudine's official status as a mom without means. The couple's decision to go forward results in welfare backlash, personal humiliation, family strain, and corrosive behavior. A sharp script layers the personal story within a socially conscious treatment, while Jones and Carroll's special chemistry turns the characters into fully rounded people. John Berry (
), an interesting if forgotten director, brings a clipped vitality to this urban affair.
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