Movies about racism

Mississippi Burning

Year: 1988
Directed By: Alan Parker
Written By: Chris Gerolmo

RYAN’S REVIEW

The best movies are the ones that teach us something.  The ones that get into our core and change the very fiber of our being for the rest of time. This movie did that for me. It taught me an invaluable lesson about racism that I will never forget. The message this movie sends is one that has been preached by many films but it is one I only needed once. It has soured my opinion some to other movies along the same lines but I hope each and every one of them did for others what this one did for me.  The world was an uglier place in 1964. It’s an unfortunate reality that the world is still that ugly 50 years later, but I hope with every lesson a film like this delivers that we will be that much closer to what the world can be.

There is plenty of ugliness in this world but I think racism would just about give anything a run for its money at being the worst.  To have hate in your heart for another person based on nothing more than their skin color is despicable.  To judge a person you do not know for preconceived notions that are unfounded is awful.  Worst of all is being so blinded by hate that you physically and emotionally hurt other people to perpetuate some ridiculous idea created by hateful and evil people.  It just blows, in every way possible.  Nothing makes me sicker than to see this ugliness in the world.  I do not judge people for what they were raised to believe but I believe we should all try to be better.  When you settle for the norm or go on with a mentality you know to be wrong you aren’t being better but simply bringing us all down by being worse. The world will never change unless we change ourselves but we can’t do it alone.  It’s a sad reality that as long as ignorance is still prevalent in our society that we will have to endure unnecessary hatred and judgment.

I mentioned that this movie has soured me on others along the same lines and I’d like to clarify that statement.  I just don’t like seeing racism, and I prefer not to see it because I find it ugly.  It’s no different than seeing rape or adultery in a movie.  Some things will just turn me off of a film because I don’t care to see it.  With racism I have learned my lesson about it and I don’t care to pile on by choosing to watch more of the ugliness.  I hope they never stop being made because each and every one has the opportunity to teach someone and that’s great.  I just don’t need that lesson anymore and choose to avoid seeing those films for the most part.  This movie is enough for me but I still find this one hard to watch again.  It’s a great movie all around but I don’t think it is fun to watch.  The Klansmen make me sick to my stomach and though it is awesome to see them get what is coming to them the damage they had already done can’t go unnoticed.  I wish this world hadn’t been this way and wasn’t so similar today in various ways but it’s an unfortunate reality we have to live with.  It’s incredibly difficult to change someone’s opinion about anything once they have set their mind to it.  I am thankful for the people out there who want to fight the battle but personally I think you are just fighting.  It’s like the war on drugs, it’s unwinnable.  You can no more make someone feel a way they don’t than you can stop them from doing something they want to do.  You can preach and punish all you want but at the end of the day haters are gonna hate and hopheads are gonna get high.

I think with this movie that the lesson I have learned from it is more important than the movie itself.  It’s a very good film that is based on real events.  There are the Hollywood elements added in as they are in all movies based on true stories but the messages the film sends are clear and authentic. Gene Hackman is incredible and should have won the Oscar but lost to Dustin Hoffman for Rainman. Frances McDormand is great in everything she does and I’m a big fan of Willem Dafoe.  I think all the KKK members were perfectly cast, R. Lee Ermey and Michael Rooker fit in accordingly.  There is also a young Eddie Winslow in the movie playing an inspiring part.  That is all I want to say about the film itself though.  I think it is a terrific film and I appreciate what it taught me but I believe what it taught me was more important than the film itself.

This movie is worth your time.  If you watch this movie and don’t feel sympathy in your heart there is something wrong with you.  There is a valuable lesson to be had from this movie and if you manage to not get it you need to see more.  If you can’t feel how awful the content of this movie is then you need to open your mind and see it again.  We can all be better as people and as individuals.  This is one of the movies that taught me to be a better person and a stronger individual.  I hope you watch it and get as much out of it as I do.  We can’t change the world but we can change ourselves and we can raise children to be smarter than our parents were and we are.

AMBER’S REVIEW

This movie is incredibly moving. A movie that makes you want to stand up for something, too. It is a really hard movie to watch. If you are a black person or a white person, it’s hard to watch. There is a huge lesson to be learned about this movie, about people and natural born rights. I wasn’t alive during this time and I am so thankful for that, because my whole motto in life is “Live and Let Live.” I don’t understand why people had and have hatred for other people for no reason at all. It burdens my heart. This movie tells an amazing story and it is worth watching for sure.

mississippi_burning

I am really impressed with this poster. I don’t think it effectively draws in curiosity or anything, but I do think it is really well designed. I am always a fan of a grid design. I think the colors are simple and well suited for this movie. You have two big names and they are evident and at the top and it also gives you an idea of what the characters look like in the film. For this poster to be done in 1988 is also impressive, I feel like it is a little ahead of its time. Another note here. I feel like the simplicity of this poster alludes to the seriousness of its nature.

NEXT MOVIE: Money Talks (1997)

The Help

Year: 2011
Directed By: Tate Taylor
Written By: Tate Taylor (screenplay) and Kathryn Stockett

RYAN’S REVIEW

This is a great movie and I can see that, but this movie makes me sad more than anything else. The world is full of hypocrites; of hateful, judgmental, and ignorant people who live to hurt others. Movies like this are good at reminding us that they are out there.  We don’t need a movie to do that though.  These people didn’t just live in the 60s; they have lived and thrived among us for the 50+ years since. Every single day there are people all over the place reminding us how awful people can be; it’s an unfortunate reality of life. This movie is sad, it’s about the hate that has existed among us and about how mean people can be. I am not a fan of this movie because I am not a fan of the mood it has put me in. I respect the story that it is telling and hope that it reaches the closed minded people of the world.  I was reached by another movie with a similar theme though, and everything else after I have just found depressing instead of moving.

This movie might not move me but it has the potential to move so many people and that makes it important. I sincerely hope that each and every other person that watches this movie learns a serious and important lesson. There is nothing good about hate, about judging another person based on the race, gender, or sexual preference. I do my best in life to never be that way and I personally hate reminders about how others choose to be.  This movie is really sad, and I never enjoy watching it.  Amber read the book, and although I respect everything my wife loves I do not enjoy this movie as she does. I don’t know all the back story that she does though and would probably feel differently if I had read the book.

Another reason I do not like this movie is because I love Bryce Dallas Howard and in this one she plays one of the most awful women I have ever seen in a movie.  These women are out there, we all know one or two.  I just hate seeing an actress I am so fond of play such a despicable character. Bryce Dallas Howard of course is the daughter of the great filmmaker and once actor Ron Howard.  I like her not only because of that but because of some of her performances in other movies.  I thought she was incredible in The Village and Lady in the Water although I might be one of the few that actually loved both of those movies.  Hilly Holbrook is a woman full of hate and arrogance.  There is absolutely nothing to like about her and that is not Bryce Dallas Howard’s fault, I just wish someone else had played the part.  I would feel much better hating a character that is supposed to be hated if she was played by someone I didn’t like.

Emma Stone is great in this movie.  I was not her biggest fan a few years ago when she burst onto the scene but I have come around. She is a great actress that shows very good versatility and her career seems to get more distinguished every year. One ironic tidbit in relation to her and this movie is that both she and Bryce Dallas Howard have now played the same character, Gwen Stacy, in different Spiderman movies. Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer are both fantastic in this movie as well but I fear they won’t have many other opportunities to shine like they did in this one.  I hope that I am wrong about this because I thought they were both great and would love to see them again.  Octavia Spencer did win the Academy Award for her part so that should open up many opportunities for her.  I just don’t see her fitting into many other roles as well as she fit into this one.

I see this as a movie about women made for women.  There are very few men in the movie at all and none with an extensive part.  I may see this as a movie for women but I still think it is a movie EVERYONE should see because we all need to learn the lessons that are offered from a film like this.  We all need to see how destructive and uncalled for hate and racism are.  Our country has come a long way since the sixties but it hasn’t come far enough if you ask me.  Racism is still rampant in this country and more often than not leaders on all sides make things worse as opposed to better. This country will never be able to be great again until we learn to be better as people.  We have to be able to work together, we have to be able to treat each other like human beings, and we need to quit with all the hate.  I don’t think this will ever happen, but the world would be a better place.  People of different races and sexual preferences are no less human than the person judging them but some people are too close minded to see the reality of that.  These types of people will always be around, and they will always find someone to put into power that will validate their beliefs.

I don’t like this movie or movies like it because they hurt me.  I feel an uncomfortable feeling in my gut every time I watch a movie like this because racism bothers me so badly.  That isn’t a feeling I like to endure and no matter how good a movie might be I find it hard to like when it makes me recognize the ugly realities of human nature.  This movie is worth your time though, despite the bad feelings while watching it now I have still found myself sucked into the story.  It is a good story, and one everybody out there can learn from.

AMBER’S REVIEW

I really like this movie. It is one of my favorite book-to-film adaptations. I think that all of the actors in the movie were perfectly cast. They played their parts perfectly and looked amazing in the costumes of the era. The book was truly amazing and moving. It made me think about how we all have treated each other over the centuries, and like Ryan, it always makes me sad.

It reminds me that we are still fighting for simple civil rights. I grew up in the South. My great grandparents had African American “help.” After reading this book, I talked to my grandma about it. I never once remember ever hearing my family (my mom’s or my dad’s sides of the family) speak in a derogatory way of anyone from that culture. I grew up not even knowing their was ever a difference. My grandma said that she remembered her maid and that she was like family. Their families spent Christmas together and everything. This made me so proud of my grandma and my family before me. I get to claim to be a part of the lucky ones. There is still so much racism and prejudice out there and it is sickening. I wish everyone could just go about their own lives and leave others to theirs.

The book isn’t based on real-life events. All of it is fictional, and even knowing that it is still heartwarming and enlightening. I totally recommend both the book and the movie.

NEXT MOVIE: Helter Skelter (2004)