For some reason, the early reviews from my peeps seemed to imply that they really weren't feelin' this joint. I know the shortys out there weren't particularly feelin' Denzel's nappy doo, which is triflin' since we all know it ain't all about the Brooks Brothers and Afro Sheen don't we homegirls? Anyway, I liked that joint, despite it being predictable as mama coming down to the basement to ask me for some rent money every month. But again, if you look at the movie behind the movie, you get a dose of American reality that's hard to shake off when you leave the theater despite the movie's feel good ending (no spoiler there y'all since it's inspired by a true story)...
Since the story takes place in Texas in the mid 1930's you know it touched on some deep subject matter - Jim Crow laws, the fragility of life for black men in the south and lynching as a family activity. This is what I mean when I say, 'the movie behind the movie'. It's always nice to get a reality check from time to time. It keeps me alert and on point and brings clearer context to comments like Seinfelds' Michael Richards' "Fifty years ago we'd have you upside down with a f***ing fork up your ass" and more recently The Golf Channel's Kelly Tilghman's ignorant offhand "lynch [Tiger Woods] in a back alley". Kramer's comment was meant to be malicious to combat hecklers, Tilghman's was just a very poor word choice, but both would do well to actually spend a little time on Martin Luther King Day to get acquainted or reacquainted with the excellent PBS documentary 'Eyes on The Prize'. Word choice matters. Those wounds from back in the day run deep. That said, I agree with most folks that Rev. Al just needs to sit down and get a real job.
I'm givin' it 2.5 Spinners even though the ending mirrored Pride's (a movie also inspired by true events and also starring Kimberly Elise) almost scene for scene and I thought Jurnee Smollett was a little overmatched in her role but I got to give it up to homegirl for steppin' up to more substantial roles - that's the only way to get better. Denzel and Forest Whitaker are just good in every role they step to, but no Oscars this time around, and as I mentioned in my pre-review - big ups to Oprah and Denzel for bringing films like this one to the big screen.