I really really wanted to give this movie 5 stars.
Pros: I appreciated the nugget at the beginning of the film when the son explains what he’s learning in school. This was really important, enlightening, and worth having more discussions about—How constitutional rights are taught in predominantly black schools versus white schools. Perhaps these differences mean the constitution is taught from a place of empowerment for some, while a place of compliance for others. I also appreciated when the protagonists, frustrated by his ex-wife’s plea to do things peacefully, angrily points out the hypocrisy between the violence exhibited by whites in this country (in history and present day) when they are crossed, and the response expected from blacks who are violated. He cites, “why are blacks the only people in this country expected to react “peacefully? When white people in this country are crossed, they are violent.” This was really powerful, specifically when he references being in the US military who (by the way) are notorious for exacting violence in other countries to institute “democracy.” Look up the journalist Julian Asange, who exposed some of the war crimes in the Middle East during the Obama administration.
Areas of opportunity: I was really engaged up until the “courtroom” scene. The “jurors,” and officers participated in this CNN vs FoxNews style debate about racism, classism, and sexism, which was really awkward to watch. I get the underlying message about the significance of intersectionality and empathy, and that we may find more commonalities (than differences) in our oppression, but the dialogue was too cliche for me. I would have appreciated a fresh perspective of these systems of oppression, or at least deeper insight. Merging these systems of oppressions together in one movie, let alone a scene, can be a lot. The screen writers could have consulted with Cornel West or Maria Hinojosa (to properly tie in the Latin X struggle). I learned absolutely nothing, which leads me to wonder if the movie was speaking to me or my oppressor? My assumption is the latter. Or perhaps the film wanted the viewer to consider that remorse and empathy from the murderer aids in healing for the parents of the slain. I dunno . Just my guess. I’m still scratching my head at what I was supposed to learn from this film as an Afro American. As I indicated before, I don’t get the film was talking to me. About me, but not to me.