I first came across the book for this film 20 years ago while working as a temp in the summer before returning to colllege. It was a time when adult pop lit were scarce to find. I had graduated from the realms of Sweet Valley High and Sweet Dreams and was looking for something more grown up. I was browsing in Foyles and I came across Disappearing Acts by Terry McMillan, two chapters later I was hooked. The thing about Terry is that she wrote in a way that spoke to modern men and women and that witty banter style was something that was unique in the 90s. Disappearing Acts is about a love story between Zora Banks and Franklin Swift, two characters who come from completely different backgrounds. Zora is a college educated aspiring musician who is working as a teacher while striving for her big break. Franklin is a construction worker who dropped out of school and with an estranged wife and two kids he is under pressure to deal with his responsibilities. They meet when Zora moves into a brownstone in Brooklyn which Franklin happens to be working on. Sparks fly and the two hook up and embark on a passionate love affair. Do they live happily ever after? Erm no. This is when it all starts to get very interesting becasue for all their chemistry there are some deep flaws in the relationship. Such as Franklin's low self esteem which stem from his dysfuntional relationship with his mother which led to him dropping out of school so he could get away from her. His lack of education sets him back; and he is unable to join the union and earn a decent living. This causes a lot of friction in his relationship with Zora as she battles to get her singing career off the ground and have a loving relationship.
The story of Terry McMillan is an inspiring one; after years of struggling to make it as an author and raising her son by herself this book finally gave her her break. However, it was her next book that caused a sensation; Waiting to Exhale was on The New York Times bestseller's list for many months. Based on the lives of four sassy ladies it was really Sex and the City before it became 'Sex and the City' and when the film was released in 1996 it caused a sensation. How Stella Got Her Groove Back soon followed - book and film and shortly afterwards Terry's name was gold. Disappearing Acts was made into a film in 2000 and starred Sanaa Lathan and Wesley Snipes and on a much smaller scale as it went straight to DVD. Overall it is an ok movie but nothing groundbreaking plus there are a few changes to the film version that annoyed me. Sanaa Lathan puts in a great performance as Zora but Wesley Snipes is way too old to play Franklin - the male character was supposed to be youthful and in his early 30s- this role came really too late in Snipes careers. My recommendation is to buy the book and give the film a miss.
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