Miss Evers' Boys (1997)




Joseph Sargent




Alfre Woodard, Laurence Fishburne, Craig Sheffer, Joe Morton, Obba Babatundé, Ossie Davis, E.G. Marshall


When she is chosen to work with doctors on a federally found program to treat syphilis in African Americans, nurse Eunice Evers (Alfre Woodard) is more than happy to help. Over time, however, the study becomes a sick and twisted human experimentation in which patients are denied a cure and just allowed to die.


When I read about Miss Evers' Boys on Dell's post, I was shocked. I just couldn't believe something like this happened and I wanted to know more about the matter, so I promised I would watch it. And so did I and it is a very good film.

The film gives a "beautiful" insight into the experiments most people don't know about and gives a good view of how things were back then, The powerful story Joseph Sargent brought to the (small) screen is engaging, appealing and quite moving. Also great is the choice to tell the story through a Senate hearing and from the point of view of Eunice Evers, the nurse who helped in the study that eventually became a twisted experimentation.

At times, however, it feels like telling a dark part of American history isn't really what the filmmakers are trying to do. It almost feels like they are defending Miss Evers's for what she did. I mean, she basically betrayed her people, and she did something she knew was wrong and yet she defended the completion of the experiment. Still, she had a purpose for doing so, she wanted to prove that there is no difference between black and white men, and that's exactly what she did. And I think it's her purpose that makes you sympathize with her character in spite of what she has done (and before you say anything, I'm not blaming her for what happened; I'm blaming the US government because they did this, and they knew it was wrong and inhuman, otherwise President Clinton would have never apologized, but they did it anyway). 

The aspect of Miss Evers' Boys that surprised me the most is the acting. I sure wasn't expecting such good performances in a TV movie, but I guess that's what you get when you have Alfre Woodard leading and Laurence Fishburne and Joe Morton supporting her. These three give such great performances, especially Woodard. 

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