This Day in Film: "Losing Isaiah"

This Day in Film: "Losing Isaiah"

Halle Berry broke new ground in the interracial adoption drama.

Published March 17, 2011

Sixteen years ago today Losing Isaiah opened in theaters nationwide. The movie starred Halle Berry as a mother who left her newborn baby in a trash bin due to a drug addiction. The child was later adopted by a white social worker, played by Oscar winner Jessica Lange. Years later, Berry's character asked for custody of her abandoned child.

The tag line for Losing Isaiah was, "Who decided what makes a mother?" The question was whether a white woman could raise a Black child. The movie delicately dealt with race, motherhood, adoption, and the prejudices from both whites and Blacks. The flick also included Samuel L. Jackson and Cuba Gooding, Jr.

Many note Losing Isaiah as the first time audiences saw "real" acting from Halle Berry. Even though she had a phenomenal role as Samuel L. Jackson's girlfriend in Jungle Fever.  Nonetheless, at this point Berry was known as the "pretty girl" in movies and her 1993 performance as the lead in the mini-series Queen was bashed by critics.

That said, Berry in Losing Isaiah remains a favorite among fans.  It's clear why she would later win an Oscar in 2002 for the Lee Daniels-produced Monster's Ball.

Written by Clay Cane


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