Till is a 2022 American biographical drama film directed by Chinonye Chukwu and written by Michael Reilly, Keith Beauchamp, and Chukwu, and produced by Beauchamp, Reilly, and Whoopi Goldberg. It is based on the true story of Mamie Till-Bradley, an educator and activist who pursued justice after the murder of her 14-year-old son Emmett in 1955. The film stars Danielle Deadwyler as Mamie Till-Bradley, with Jalyn Hall, Frankie Faison, Haley Bennett, and Goldberg in supporting roles.
Till isn’t really about Emmett, the teenager brutally killed by racists in Mississippi, instead, the film is about his mother, Mamie (played by Deadwyler). The film is told primarily from Mamie’s perspective and from the moment Emmett leaves home to holiday in Mississippi, Mamie is uneasy. She frets about never having being away from Emmett for such a long time and she cautions Emmet to be careful when dealing with white folk.
Sadly, Mamie’s intuition is proven right when an encounter with a white woman goes wrong for Emmet and he is kidnapped and ultimately murdered. Deadwyler gives a dynamic performance, nuanced as well as visceral as Mamie is confronted by the tragic news. There are no sensational scenes of the murder itself and the scene where Mamie faints is handled tastefully. However, Mamie completely breaks down when she sees Emmett’s coffin and his mutilated body.
Now, in real life, Mamie insisted that Emmett’s mutilated body be in public view for his funeral and in this respect, the film does not flinch in depicting the horrific condition his murderers left him. The film captures the sorrow and horror perfectly and it is impossible not to be impacted emotionally. Of course, the perpetrators were acquitted (it was the American South in the 1950s) and Mamie went on to be a civil rights activists – her rationale being that anything that was done to even one African-American was done to all. Powerful and not to be missed, especially for Deadwyler. Recommended.
Watch now on Amazon.
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