An interracial romance in the Deep South during World War II forms the backdrop for the sentimental drama "Constellation." Written and directed by Jordan Walker-Pearlman, the ambitious film preaches reconciliation and forgiveness as an extended group of family and friends comes together 50 years later to celebrate the life of a beloved aunt.
Featuring a stalwart cast (many of whom appeared in Walker-Pearlman's 2000 drama, "The Visit") and some delicately wrought moments, the film is unable to overcome its soap opera scenario and clunky pacing.
In flashbacks, Gabrielle Union plays the aunt, Carmel Boxer, as a young woman as she recalls, through letters, her star-crossed affair with a white Army lieutenant. The remembrances frame the more contemporary story that details the complicated web of exes and in-laws who congregate for Carmel's funeral. The fulcrum of the relationships is patriarch Helms Boxer (Billy Dee Williams), Carmel's brother and a successful painter now living in Paris. Helms returns to Huntsville, Ala., to close out Carmel's house but has no intention of attending the funeral. He is joined by his ex-wife Nancy (Lesley Ann Warren), their two grown daughters, Lucy (Melissa De Sousa) and Rosa (Zoe Saldana), and a more recent wife, Jenita (Rae Dawn Chong), all of whom have issues with Helms' emotionally aloof demeanor.