We got a new emotional biopic released this week. Till tells the story of the lynching of Emmett Till, a 14-year old boy from Chicago who went to Mississippi to see family and ended up being murdered because he innocently had done something that the white people took as insulting. Emmett, referred to as Bo, was beaten badly and his body was found in the river. His mother, Mamie, took up the mantel for justice for her son and became a huge leader among the Civil Rights movement.
This was so powerful that I was moved to tears a couple of times in the theater. At one point, I had considered not going to this movie, but I am so happy that I did. This was a difficult watch, but so emotionally moving.
Mamie was played by Danielle Deadwyler and she completely dominated the movie. Deadwyler deserves an Academy Award nomination for this performance. The absolute anguish that poured out of her when she got her son’s body back from Mississippi was completely brutal and tumultuous. But it was not just the visceral pain that Deadwyler showed, but also the bravery and the leadership she displayed having to face the hatred and the bigotry from the white people in the south.
The film started off by giving us some wonderful interactions with Mamie and Bo. Bo was played by Jalyn Hall who brought a lot of charm to the young boy. You could see what a promising man Bo was going to grown into, if he had been given a chance, and that made this tragedy all the more intense.
Whoopi Goldberg was in the film as well, providing a fabulous supporting performance as Mamie’s mother. Frankie Faison played Mamie’s father and he brought a lot to the role. I would have liked even more from Goldberg.
Part of the horror of the movie was how much guilt everyone involved was feeling over the death of Bo. Everyone from Whoopi, who blamed herself because she had encouraged Bo to go to Mississippi, to Bo’s cousins who were there when he made the mistake that would eventually cost him his life. Guilt is so horrific because you are not at fault and yet you punish yourself as if you were. This was shown brilliantly through the entire ensemble cast.
However, this is Deadwyler’s film and she runs away with it.
It is so sad that such hatred exists in our country and that there are people who feel it is acceptable to respond with such a violent manner. It is also shameful that there had not been a Federal law making lynching illegal until 2022. In fact, I thought that law had failed in Congress so when I saw that the Emmett Till Antilynching Act had been signed into law by President Biden this year I was surprised, but thrilled. It was a LONG time coming.
Till is an outstanding movie that was filled with emotion and a amazing lead performance from Danielle Deadwyler.