The poet T.S. Eliot once wrote, "Old men ought to be explorers." Following the death of his elderly mother, 60-year-old Earl (Robert Duvall), a redneck tractor dealer in a small Arkansas town, learns that the person who really gave birth to him was a black woman his father impregnated.
Confused, angered, and curious, Earl leaves his family and secretly drives to Chicago. There he meets his half-brother Ray (James Earl Jones), a black policeman who lives with his grown son (Michael Beach) and Aunt T. (Irma D. Hall). This spiritually wise matriarch, who is blind, intuits that the two men need her help in loosening up.
A Family Thing is an unusual and uplifting film directed by Richard Pearce that celebrates the ties that link people together despite vast differences. Aunt T. adds a measure of grace to the world by enabling these two brothers not to give up on each other. And they both realize that you're never too old or too set in your ways to learn the liberating lessons of love.