Soul Food

September 26th, 1997


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Matriarch Mama Joe has held her family together for 40 years around a Sunday dinner of soul food. When diabetes hospitalizes her...

Release Year: 1997

Rating: 6.4/10 (3,054 voted)

Critic's Score: 68/100

Director: George Tillman Jr.

Stars: Vanessa Williams, Vivica A. Fox, Nia Long

Matriarch Mama Joe has held her family together for 40 years around a Sunday dinner of soul food. When diabetes hospitalizes her, the dinners stop and tensions among her three daughters start to break the family apart. Two of the sisters feud continuously: Teri is jealous of Maxine's marriage and irritated that everyone assumes her corporate salary is open to the rest of the family's uses. Maxine resents Teri's bossiness and insensitivity to family tradition. Bird, the youngest, newly married to an ex-con, accepts a favor from an old lover that leads to her husband's arrest. Mama Joe's grandson Ahmad cooks up a scheme to bring the family together, back to the table.

Vanessa Williams - Teri (as Vanessa L. Williams)
Vivica A. Fox - Maxine
Nia Long - Bird
Michael Beach - Miles
Mekhi Phifer - Lem
Brandon Hammond - Ahmad
Jeffrey D. Sams - Kenny
Gina Ravera - Faith
Irma P. Hall - Mother Joe
Carl Wright - Reverend Williams
Mel Jackson - Simuel
Morgan Méchelle Smith - Kelly
John M. Watson Sr. - Uncle Pete
M.T. Alexander - Jada
Lawrence Petty - Harome

Taglines: Every family needs some.


Official Website: Fox |

Release Date: 26 September 1997

Filming Locations: Chicago, Illinois, USA

Box Office Details

Budget: $7,500,000(estimated)

Opening Weekend: $11,197,897 (USA) (28 September 1997) (1339 Screens)

Gross: $43,490,057 (USA) (19 January 1998)

Technical Specs


Did You Know?

Irma P. Hall is the only cast member who reprised their role in the cable series.

Crew or equipment visible: When Lem is sitting in the living room talking to Kenny at his house, you can see a light from the camera visible in the window behind them.

Maxine: Ahmad, what are you doin' in the ladies' bathroom?
Ahmad: Yo Bird! Big Mama said to bring yo' black ass out there!
Maxine: Boy, Big Mama told nobody's black ass to go nowhere!

User Review

So True Its Scary


When I first saw this film it reminded me so much of my family I actually got nervous. The story depicted in this film is so true especially in many Black families, especially mine. The story is pretty much about how a family breaks up after the matriarch becomes ill and eventually dies causing rifts to develop due to the fact that the one person who keeps the family grounded is no longer around to mediate disputes and to show love and guidance to the younger generation. This is definitely a wonderful film that should be viewed by every family no matter what race they are.