(CNN)In theory there’s only so much to be done with a celebrity biography, but when the subject is Sidney Poitier, that’s an unusually target-rich environment. “Sidney,” a documentary from director Reginald Hudlin produced by Oprah Winfrey, does the actor justice, providing context, depth and considerable warmth in chronicling his remarkable life and trailblazing career.
Counting the actor’s widow, Joanna Shimkus Poitier, and daughter Anika among its executive producers, the project is appropriately celebratory of Poitier’s accomplishments but maintains enough distance to cover the more complex aspects of his story. It includes, for example, the turn against the actor in the late 1960s conveyed by a New York Times headline that asked, “Why Does White America Love Sidney Poitier So?,” and his years-long extramarital affair with Diahann Carroll, giving an extra layer to their scorching chemistry in a clip from “Paris Blues.”
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