Launched on May 28 1993, Made in America is a fascinating must-watch piece directed by Richard Benjamin featuring Sarah, (Whoopi Goldberg) and Hal (Ted Danson) as its lead characters. The celluloid provides a simple storyline based on the discovery by Zora (Nia Long) that she was conceived through artificial insemination.
The rest of the story unfolds in a comic tone with an even more unsettling discovery for Sarah that the sperm donor was a white male, who was not so partial to intelligence, an outright contradiction to the qualities she requested for in a donor. Several sociological concepts are evident in this production, among them ethnicity, stratification, and gender as the paper tables.
For instance, the situation unveiled in the movie concerning Sarah’s outrageous outburst when she realizes that the father of her child is white is a manifestation of ethnicity. At first, the viewer is led to the assumption that she is being racist, which is true to a limited extent, but in the ensuing scenes, the comical sentiments that are passed back and forth are more ‘racial’ inclined than purely ‘racist’, which would have been discriminatory.
Sarah is an intelligent African-American antiques seller who has managed single-handedly to raise a 20-year-old daughter. She is a tough woman. On the other hand, Hal is a sleazy car sales-man, who disregards intellect and uses his charm to get by. These two characters display stratification in society.
Sarah is an independent single woman doing her best to get by and raise a daughter right. This pressurizes her to succeed as well as live by a certain moral code. On the other hand, Hal is a car-salesman who does not seem to b having any major responsibilities in life. He has a wife who is never in the picture and his life seems to be present-oriented.
The film further addresses the prevailing subject of sexuality. The film seems heavy-laden with bawdy jokes and sexual tension between Sarah and Hal. Moreover, the foundational concept of artificial insemination for conception is a contemporary sexual-related theme. It is more of a controversy to the society’s accepted norms.
The viewer is led to analyze this method of beginning a family, and the ensuing complications give an insight to this method’s probable side effects. However, when combined with the beauty of the existence of Zora, the method’s result, a holistic picture is drawn for viewers to weigh its pros and cons. The jokes and lightheartedness throughout the film may make viewers more receptive of this method of conception.
Nevertheless, a confounding element of this concept is the ‘reunion’ or ‘attraction’ between Sarah and Hal. This leaves the viewer questioning the necessity of artificial insemination, whereas natural conception could still have occurred had the two characters met two decades ago. This new projection further sheds light onto the undertones of the film, especially the question of ethnicity.
The director may have wanted to highlight the fact that the present sociological climate was different from that of twenty years ago, and that in this generation, the society was more receptive interethnic liaisons than it was before. This film depicts sociological concepts such as norms, sexuality, stratification, and ethnicity. It triggers its audience to analyze their standing on critical societal values or standards by displaying both the positive and negative characteristics of either standing.