For a gripping account of the ghastly 1955 murder of 14 year-old Emmett Till in Money, Mississippi, and the despicable perversion of justice that followed, Stanley Nelson and Marcia A. Smith‘s The Murder of Emmett Till, a 2003 American Experience doc, is your best bet.
Having just seen and been moved by Chinonye Chukwu‘s Till (UA Releasing, 10.14), I’m actually planning to rewatch the PBS doc.
Partly (and I don’t mean this in a naysaying sense) because Till is not a tightly focused, chapter-and-verse procedural about the tragic facts, and that’s what I, a shameless just-the-facts type, more or less wanted the whole time.
Which is not to say Till is a problem film — it’s not. It’s just that it’s strictly focused on the agonizing ordeal of Emmett’s mother, Mamie Till-Mobley (Danielle Deadwyler), and about the dignity and resolve that this half-broken woman summoned in order to bring about a form of justice for her son.
Not legal justice, of course — not in the Jim Crow south of the mid ’50s. But the justice of history and all the facts being known.
Co-written by Michael Reilly, Keith Beauchamp and Chukwu, Till recounts the basics of Emmett’s Chicago life (sharing a home with Mamie, his colorful personality and natty clothing) before his visit to Money in late August of ’55, and how his expression of hormonal arousal (a wolf whistle) directed at Carolyn Bryant, a married 21 year-old storekeep, led to his killing by her husband and half-brother because he’d violated a sexual racial barrier.
The heart of the film is how Mamie dealt with this horrible occurence, and particularly her decision to reveal her son’s mutilated, bloated, bashed-in head to the world by opening the casket lid during his Chicago funeral. This was followed by her Mississippi testimony at the trial of his killers.
Till’s murder is aurally suggested but mercifully not shown.
Till is sad and penetrating and well acted up and down, but award-season-wise it’s mainly an acting showcase vehicle for the gifted Deadwyler, who will obviously be nominated for a Best Actress Oscar. She channels three simultaneous currents — devotion, devastation, steel.
Till is deeply appalling and sadly factual. But it’s not a satisfying story because the actual story itself was unsatisfying. Not only were the bad guys not convicted but they even pocketed a fat fee when they admitted to killing Emmett in a Look magazine article.
If you want the kind of emotional satisfaction that results when the bad guys pay for their foul deeds, re-watch the fictional Mississippi Burning. But if you want to submit to a wowser, soul-deep lead performance, see Till.
Last May the understanding was that Apple + had chickened out of releasing Antoine Fuqua and Will Smith’s Emancipation, the fear being that Smith’s Oscar slap incident would overshadow the film, at least in terms of award-season recognition.
Delaying this film for a year wouldn’t have made a damn bit of difference, damage-control-wise.
In a 10.1 Air Mail piece about Italy’s newly elected Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni (“They’re With Her”), George Pendel laments three warning signs — “conspiracy theories about immigration” (whatever that means), Meloni’s “perpetual use of anti-Semitic dog whistles” (obviously odious if true) and “her screeds against political correctness” (what’s wrong with that?…more power!).
A part of me genuinely sympathizes with Jordan Peterson’s tearful empathy for incels, and I therefore agree to some extent with Megyn Kelly’s “screw you” dismissal of Don’t Worry Darling‘s Olivia Wilde along with, to some extent, Matt Walsh‘s impressions of all of this, but we have to face facts about incels.
Various understandings of who and what they are may be flawed, but there’s a certain common ground. My understanding (take this with a grain) is that incels are lonely guys who are both (a) unattractive to women and who (b) haven’t made a great effort to be attractive to women.
This is mainly (or at least partly) because they’ve given up. They tend to live in their own realm (not a lot of socializing) and spend an inordinate amount of time at home with their computers. They exist, of course, but they clearly don’t want to to be “in the game.” And they don’t seem to want to take hints about how to fix this.
By all appearances incels don’t eat healthily, they don’t work out (i.e., are overweight) , they’re probably medicating too much (alcohol) and they tend to groom and dress horribly — the usual beardface thing, contemptible flannel shirts, baggy shorts, ugly T-shirts, lace-up sneakers with black socks (or no socks), backwards baseball caps and all the rest of that awful garb. And their absorption in online forums and superhero realms verges on the neurotic, if not the diseased.
If I was a reasonably attractive straight woman I would run in the opposite direction and I wouldn’t stop running until I ran out of breath, and then I’d hail an Uber or a Lyft to put even more distance between me and these fucking guys.
With a less desirable genetic inheritance and an even more punishing upbringing and minus the deliverance of movies and journalism, I could have been an incel. I’m not indifferent to their plight. But c’mon, man…God helps those who help themselves.
Don’t Worry, Darling, by the way, plummeted 75% this weekend. That means people really don’t like it. And it’s not the craft levels — it’s a reasonably well made film and that’s obviously on Wilde. The problem is with the third act, which leaves you with nothing and jettisons the whole “social focus on the ’50s” and the granddaughter’s inheritance from Martin Ritt’s No Down Payment.
Don’t Worry Darling has earned $33 million so far.
- All Hail Tom White, Taciturn Hero of “Killers of the Flower Moon”
Roughly two months ago a very early draft of Eric Roth‘s screenplay for Killers of the Flower Moon (dated 2.20.17,...More »