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At Theaters: 8/28/1998 On Video: 12/29/1998
Rated: R Length: 1 hr. 55 min.
Internet: Web Site Movie ID: 099804
Studio: Warner Bros. Pictures Inc.
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Storyline Heading

Three very different women all claim to be the legitimate widow of singer/songwriter Frankie Lymon and the heir to his estate. Through their stories of their relationships with Lymon, their own complex, funny, tragic and resilient lives emerge.

Movie Type (Genre) Heading
Drama - Why Do Fools Fall in Love is a music industry biography about a 1950s era singer. Fans of the era's music may enjoy the re-creation of the era, as well as the music and performances. African-American audiences may also enjoy the story about a black singer struggling in the industry. The performances are solid, but the characters are not very well-developed.
Cast and Crew Heading
Halle Berry (Bulworth)
Vivica A. Fox (Batman & Robin)
Lela Rochon (The Big Hit)
Larenz Tate (Menace II Society)
Little Richard (Contemporary Music)
Director: Gregory Nava (Selena)
Production Notes Heading
About The Production
A Background In Music History
Dressing The Part
Content Heading
PROFANITY: Strong and frequent
SEX/NUDITY: A few scenes of obscured sexual activity
VIOLENCE: One scene of a graphic beating
DRUGS/ALCOHOL: Depicts effects of alcohol and drug abuse
ACTION: One brief chase scene
COMEDY: Mostly insult comedy between characters

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All Rights Reserved.

Critic's Review Heading
I can understand why screenwriter Tina Andrews latched onto the story behind Why Do Fools Fall in Love for fifteen years. It's got a great hook -- the real-life story of three women claiming to be the legal widow of 50s rock 'n' roll legend Frankie Lymon -- and a complex main character. Too bad the film isn't actually about that main character, at least not nearly as much as it should. Larenz Tate's energetic, charismatic performance as Lymon is wasted on a story too concerned with keeping the character enigmatic. When it should be trying harder to help us understand him, the film throws up its metaphorical hands and says "I dunno."
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Opinion Heading

Based on an Exit Polling of 144 Moviegoers

Ages Age Group
Your Probability of
Enjoying This Movie
Movie To Friends
13-19Teens (M)
Fairly High
13-19Teens (F)
20-29Yg Adults (M)
20-29Yg Adults (F)
Very High
30+Adults (M)
30+Adults (F)
*Possible Ratings: Very High, High, Fairly High, About 50/50, Fairly Low, Low, Very Low.

About Our Opinions

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Zola Taylor (HALLE BERRY) fell a tiny bit in love with Frankie Lymon (LARENZ TATE) the first time she saw him perform onstage. When he was singing, he was working magic with the audience, and it worked on Zola, too. She was beautiful, and a successful singer in her own right with the top-ranked group The Platters, but Frankie was something else -- a star. With songs like the smash hit Why Do Fools Fall In Love that he wrote and performed, he was going to make history. The day she became Mrs. Frankie Lymon was the happiest day of Zola's life.

Elizabeth Waters (VI VICA A. FOX) wasn't a glamour girl; in fact, she was a welfare mom who sidelined in shoplifting. But Frankie saw something else in her, and she loved the way he loved her - especially after she saw him perform onstage. Even when his career fell apart, Elizabeth took care of Frankie and struggled to keep their home together. The day she became Mrs. Frankie Lymon was the happiest day of Elizabeth's life.

Emira Eagle (LELA ROCHON) was a demure Southern schoolteacher. When she met Frankie Lymon, she didn't even realize he'd once been a national singing sensation. The Frankie she knew was a serviceman, a polite, gentle guy who was handy around the house and wanted to start a family. The day she became Mrs. Frankie Lymon was the happiest day of Emira's life.

Now, Zola, Elizabeth and Emira, three women from three different worlds who each claim with complete assurance to be Mrs. Frankie Lymon, are fighting bitterly over Frankie's legacy - his songs and the money they earned. Each swears she's his legitimate widow - but in each case, something complicates the claim.

Through their stories -- funny, tragic, rousing and romantic -- the women come to learn quite a bit about the husband they'd each thought they knew, as they see their own tangled lives through each others' eyes. In a cameo performance, the architect of rock'n' roll, Little Richard, appears as himself, supplying wittily pointed recollections of the music business, Frankie Lymon's life and the women who populated it.

Ultimately, despite their differences, Zola, Elizabeth and Emira bond over what they truly have in common: Frankie Lyman, the man they'd all loved. Although he was a different man for each woman, ultimately they came to understand that, despite his flaws, he was one of a kind -- a contradiction they'll never forget.

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