A Patch of Blue

Director: Guy Green
Year Released: 1965
Rating: 2.5

Blind Selina (Elizabeth Hartman), who lives a horrid existence with her unhinged mother Rose-Ann (Shelley Winters) and alcoholic grandfather (Wallace Ford) and whose only taste of freedom is sitting under a tree and making necklaces, has a chance encounter with Gordon (Sidney Poitier), an African-American, who takes pity on her and shows her around the city ... but when Rose-Ann sees the two of them together, the racial slurs come flying.  Let's be honest: this is not exactly the most subtle movie ever written and the pleas for sympathy are unrelenting, but it was made during the Civil Rights Movement where audiences needed a simplified message about the importance of respecting the dignity of others, regardless of race or disability.  Gordon helps "save" Selina by arranging for her to go to school so she can be with individuals like her instead of getting physically abused in a cramped apartment, but actress Hartman's real life was not so fortunate - she had severe depression and committed suicide at the age of 43.  That's another reason we "need" the movies: to remind us of the goodness in nearly all of us (there are still plenty of malcontents out there).