The Saddest Scenes: Jungle Fever (1991)

I have decided to start a new intermittent series of posts about some of the saddest scenes in movies. I will try to avoid scenes that require a lot of context, but that might not be avoidable.

The first one I chose is from Spike Lee’s Jungle Fever. While a lot of made of the movie’s interracial/romance main story or the “drugs are the scourge of our community” subplot, one thing that always struck me as sad about Jungle Fever was the disintegration of the father/child relationships in the movie. The scene where Frank Vincent finds out Annabella Sciorra had slept with Wesley Snipes was brutal, but Samuel L. Jackson’s final scene in the movie is one I find so sad that even after all these years it can still bring a tear to my eye. I can only imagine the stories behind what went wrong in the lives of the family to bring everyone to this.

When I first saw this, I couldn’t understand how Ossie Davis Jr would be so cold hearted, but as I watch it again, I can see a man who feels as though he has absolutely nowhere else to go. Even as he sits there reciting scripture, you can see he is a man defeated. Ruby Dee’s crying at the end of this scene rips my heart each time. I also regard this as one of the best scenes Samuel L. Jackson has ever performed in. He was sad, creepy, scary and even funny in the span of five minutes. Like a lot of my friends, this was the movie that put him on the map for us and most of it is because of this scene.

If you don’t own this movie on DVD, here is an Amazon link to buy it (buying through this link will help the site):

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