Film: Six Degrees Of Separation

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In a society driven to form walls between social classes, there exists people who aspire to climb said walls; a feat that seems impossible to some. They see the wall as a symbol of segregation, but in reality it is a dare to challenge the norm. In the 1993 film Six Degrees of Separation, represents this climb told through the story of a troubled young man named Paul (Will Smith) who insinuates himself on a rich art couples home, Flan and Ouisa Kittredge (Donald Sutherland & Stockard Channing). Through Paul’s wordplay and allure, the Kittredges find themselves wanting to know more of Paul and also mentally about themselves. The movie presents subversive elements such as sexuality, race, and intelligence through Paul who challenges the norm that…show more content…
The name Sidney Poitier is repeated throughout the film because of his historical achievement in the film industry. Sidney Poitier is the the first African-American ever to take home an Oscar for Best Actor which ties in with Paul’s ability to act among the high social class. After a lot of talking and intellectually gripping conversations, the Kittredges insist that he stay for the night after getting Geoffrey to provide two million dollars for a Cézanne painting, even giving him fifty dollars for the remarkable evening. However, their sympathy for Paul changes the next morning after seeing him with a white naked male in their home. It is this point in the movie that the first gay male element is introduced to Paul’s story. When looking at the 1980s-1990s period, near the time of when the movie was filmed, the LGBT people achieved more mainstream visibility than ever. Marches such as the Second National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights had half a million people participating to support the legal recognition of lesbian and gay relationships in addition to other demands. Correspondingly in the film, Six Degrees of Separation, Paul subtly hints at the viewers that homosexuality should be more widely recognized. For instance, Paul does not hesitate to ask his male guest to dance with him in the famous Rainbow Room. It is compelling to see such an element in this film because it indicates that the influence of the LGBT movement was growing. The Stonewall Riots had occurred less than twenty-five years ago from the time the movie was filmed, but the riots was a wake-up call in the heterosexual society, that other social classes exist. Furthermore, the viewer later learns that Paul was in a three-month affair with an attending MIT

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