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Film / Aaron Loves Angela

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Aaron Loves Angela is a 1975 coming-of-age romantic drama film written by Gerald Sanford and directed by Gordon Parks Jr.

Aaron James (Kevin Hooks) is a sixteen-year-old black basketball player living in Harlem with his father Ike (Moses Gunn), a former college football player. Aaron falls in love with Angela Sanchez (Irene Cara), a fifteen-year-old Puerto Rican girl living with her mother. As the two meet in secret, they witness a crime involving Aaron's drug dealing neighbor Beau Lincoln (Robert Hooks), which endangers their lives.

Aaron Loves Angela contains examples of:

  • Abandoned Area: Aaron asks his best friend Willie Russell (Leon Pinkney) to find him a place where he and Angela can have their trysts. Willie shows him a condemned apartment building with a room with a mattress where he sometimes takes girls. Aaron and Angela are both uncomfortable going into a condemned building at first, but they soon get used to the place and start fixing up the room to make it more romantic.
  • Briefcase Full of Money: Beau carries a briefcase with stacks of money sorted by denomination, from fives to fifties. After he's shot, he begs Aaron with his dying breaths to take it. Aaron does, attracting the ire of the two goons who killed him.
  • Bringing Running Shoes to a Car Chase: The two goons find Aaron and Angela at Grant's Tomb and start driving towards them. Aaron and Angela flee down the street until they reach a park where the goons can't drive and have to get out and run.
  • The Cameo: José Feliciano, who composed the soundtrack, appears as a musician in a club. Basketball star Walt Frazier also appears; Ike follows him and asks him to give Aaron advice.
  • Cardiovascular Love: The hearts in the movie poster, and this is a story about a romantic couple.
  • Disappeared Dad: Angela's dad is a trumpet player in Los Angeles. He visits her on Christmas.
  • Fingertip Drug Analysis: One of Beau's buyers dabs some cocaine on his tongue and gums, then yells, "The stuff is shit!"
  • Five-Finger Discount: Aaron and his friends shoplift porn magazines from an adult bookstore.
  • Freeze-Frame Ending: The credits play over a shot of Aaron and Angela running hand in hand.
  • I Coulda Been a Contender!: Ike spends much of his time drunkenly looking at slides of his football days. He's sad and bitter that his career didn't work out, and his biggest wish for Aaron is that he'll have a successful basketball career, even though Aaron doesn't think he'll ever be tall enough.
  • The Loins Sleep Tonight: Implied. Aaron tries to have sex with Beau's girlfriend Cleo (Ernestine Jackson) as practice before Angela. Cut to Aaron glumly getting dressed while Cleo says, "Now Aaron honey, don't be upset. It happens that way sometimes."
  • Malicious Misnaming: Willie accuses Aaron of losing a basketball game because he was distracted by "Angel Sandwich."
  • Maligned Mixed Marriage: Surprisingly, the racial differences between Aaron and Angela barely factor into the plot, except for one scene. When Angela kisses Aaron outside of her building, two of her neighbors chase him and try to beat him up, because "We don't like no outsiders fuckin' with our women, man!"
  • Missing Mom: Aaron's mother is a dancer who got bored of her family and moved to Paris. She didn't take Aaron along because he was too much like his dad.
  • Modesty Bedsheet: After Aaron and Angela have sex, they lie on the mattress with a blanket wrapped around his waist and her chest.
  • Really Moves Around: Angela's mother moves whenever she gets bored. The two of them have lived in New Orleans, Miami, and Atlanta.
  • Resentful Guardian: In a moment of drunken rage, Ike tells Aaron, "I don't know why I should ruin my own life for someone whose own mama didn't want him.… Stop fucking up my life! You know what I could've done without you? How many times I wanted to split? Just get the hell out of here!" and smashes his glass against the wall. After he calms down, he says, "Aaron, I didn't mean what I said. I just have to have someone to hurt sometimes, and you're all I got."
  • Their First Time: Aaron takes Angela to the room Willie showed him, puts on some music, and pours her a drink. When she realizes what he's after, she starts crying and runs away, thinking Aaron doesn't love her and thinks she's cheap, but later she comes back, and they have sex in the room.
  • Title Drop: Aaron writes "Aaron likes Angela" as Sweetie Graffiti in the stairwell of his apartment building, then "Aaron likes Angela very much" on a piece of metal, and finally "Aaron loves Angela!" on a napkin he tells Willie to give to Angela.