In Till, the year is 1955 and Mamie Till’s son, Emmett, leaves his home in Chicago to spend a couple of weeks with family in Mississippi. Both Mamie and Emmett are black, and as Mamie is aware of the racial prejudices and violence in Mississippi, she warns her son to be careful.
A week passes and Mamie receives a call from her family, informing her that Emmett is missing. Following an innocent gesture he made in a white-owned store, he was dragged out of his uncle’s home during the middle of the night by two white men, and he hasn’t been seen since.
Within days, Emmett is found dead; with his body dumped in the river. He was severely beaten and shot in the head, leaving him practically unrecognisable.
When Emmett’s body is returned to Mamie, she is shocked at what remains of her son. However, she insists the casket containing his body remains open, so the world can see the extent of the torture he endured, and she doesn’t want this crime to fade away.
Moving forward, Mamie fights for justice in her son’s name and tries to get a conviction for his murder. She never wants anyone to experience what Emmett went through, and this becomes a cause she remains deeply committed to.
Based on a devastating and heart-breaking true story, Till is a biographical drama about the real-life tale of Mamie Till’s fight for justice. The film – directed and co-written by Chinonye Chukwu – stars Danielle Deadwyler, Jalyn Hall, Frankie Faison, and Whoopie Goldberg, and is currently on general release in UK cinemas, following its US release last year.
Heart-wrenching, raw, and incredibly emotional, Till is a striking film about a mother’s love for her son, and the lengths she will go to, to honour his memory and legacy. The movie looks at racial prejudices, brutality and injustice, and the pain and suffering of bereavement following a wicked and inhuman act.
Watching the story play out as a movie, is at times a harrowing experience, and one which stirs up a lot of feelings, including sadness, frustration, and anger. As such, and due to its subject matter, Till is not an easy watch, so those who are yet to see this film should be prepared for some uncomfortable viewing.
However, I urge everyone to watch Till as this is a remarkable picture, born from a truly horrendous act. Director and co-writer Chinonye Chukwu, writers Michael Reilly and Keith Beauchamp, and all the cast of this film approach Till with the utmost care and respect, delivering a movie which is both breathtakingly beautiful, and achingly poignant.
Told largely from the perspective of Mamie, Till places actress Danielle Deadwyler at the centre of the story and builds the film around her. Now, this would be a lot of pressure for any actor, but Deadwyler handles everything in her stride and gives an outstanding performance.
Starting out as a devoted parent, before moving onto a grief-stricken mother, and then a fierce champion, Deadwyler takes Mamie through a range of emotions, and nails every single one of them. Her performance is mesmerising, and truly incredible, and if she isn’t nominated for an Academy Award at this year’s ceremony, then someone needs to scrap the whole damn thing.
Deadwyler is tremendous throughout the picture, but there are certain moments – including a scene where she sees the horrific sight of Emmet’s body – that are masterclasses in acting. What Deadwyler brings to this film cannot be understated, because it is powerful stuff.
Outside of Deadwyler’s performance, this movie features a great ensemble cast who make the most of every scene they are given; it boasts some beautifully shot sequences; and it delivers a passionate and engaging narrative, which is easy to get lost in. The film ticks all the right boxes, and then some, and I can’t praise it enough.
Till is simply superb. I believe it does its best to bring an important story to the big screen, with a cast who understand the weight of the words they speak, and the actions they perform, and if you’ve not had chance to catch the film yet, I highly recommend you give it your time.
Thank you for taking the time to read this review on It’s A Stampede!. For more reviews, check out the recommended reads below.
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