Rated: R for language. Reviewed by: Frank Release date: April 22, 1994 Released by: Touchstone Pictures
The Inkwell is a Summer of 42 clone with too many subplots. It is also about a different segment of the black population that is usually ignored on the screen. With no drugs and no violence it is a peaceful film about a black family.
The Inkwell is a beach on Martha's Vineyard where b lacks spend the summer of 1976. Drew Tate (Larenz Tate), a shy teenager, is forced to spend a two week vacation with his parents at the summer vacation home of his aunt and uncle. Tate has little interest in the opposite sex until his cousin moves him around the island. He meets Lauren Kelly (Jada Pinkett) and discovers his budding sexuality. His experiences are interesting to watch but the film also attempts to resolve his parents' marital problems, the stormy relationship between his father and uncle and the distant relationship between his mother and grandmother. Any one of the subplots could be a film on its own, here they clutter the script.
Tate eventually loses his innocence with a woman whom he befriends and helps to expose her cheating husband. Herein lies the similarity to Summer of 42.
As 1976 was a quieter time for black families in America, the movie explores black families that work. Mothers and fathers who have problems and conflicts but who work them out and kids who have teenage problems and desires other than guns and drugs. Producers seldom bring such black families to film. Films like Boyz in the Hood and Menace II Society have a place but so do films which deal with pleasant functioning families who are more representative of the minority community.
Despite being a little cluttered it is a pleasant summer vacation to watch and enjoy.
The Inkwell is rated (R) for language, but it could easily have been rated PG-13.