The Stream: This story feels like it has been told so many times before
The Big Screen: A deeply emotional and affecting performance by Danielle Deadwyler
The Final Bill: A powerful story of a mother’s love told with sensitivity and a breakout performance by Danielle Deadwyler– Trip Fontaine
Director: Chinonye Chukwu
Writers: Chinonye Chukwu, Keith Beauchamp, Michael Reilly
Stars: Danielle Deadwyler, Jalyn Hall, Whoopi Goldberg, Sean Patrick Thomas
Rating: PG-13 for thematic content involving racism, strong disturbing images and racial slurs
Runtime: 2 hours 3 minutes
Production Companies: Orion Pictures, Eon Productions, MGM, Frederick Zollo Productions, Lil’ Whoop Productions
Platform: In theaters October 28, 2022
Notable Trailers: Devotion, The Inspection, Creed III, Women Talking,
Hey, Streamers! Till was released in theaters last weekend. It tells the tragic story of a young boy’s life cut short by racial violence and his mother’s struggle for justice on his behalf. Yes, you may have heard this story before or read about the murder of Emmett Till, but the focus in the movie on Emmett’s mother, Mamie Till-Mobley, and her impact on the Civil Rights Movement is a slightly different angle. A lot of the history lessons about Emmett Till end with his death and his mutilated body on the cover of newspapers, but the movie does not end there but zones in on Mamie’s transformation through the tragedy. Historical hijinks ensue.
First, I know that people do not want to see another biopic or a movie about racial violence. That is understandable. When you go to the movies, you just want to be entertained. Nevertheless, Till is still an important movie and the story of Mamie Till-Mobley’s fight for justice is still relevant today. Racial violence in America is not as overt in today as was in the 1950s, but it takes different forms. The movie takes strides to note in its post-script that the Emmett Till Anti-Lynching law was just passed this year after being introduced in Congress almost 70 years ago!
Now, as for the movie itself, it all centers around this powerful and emotional performance by Danielle Deadwyler, who plays Mamie Till-Mobley. Deadwyler has such expressive eyes and a commanding voice even when soft-spoken. The love that radiates between her and Jalyn Hall, who plays Emmett, is the foundation for all that comes afterwards. They have charming mother and son moments that Hall shines in as well. Deadwyler, then, turns Mrs. Till-Mobley into a fierce protector of her child and his legacy and turns her crusade for justice into a catalyst for the Civil Rights Movement. It is a wonder to think where that movement would be without the difficult decisions she made. Deadwyler does great work to convey the conflicting emotions – despair, danger, and determination – that must have propelled Mamie Till-Mobley into a figure she did not choose to be.
Ultimately, Till retells a tragic story from history from a slightly different perspective. The performance by Danielle Deadwyler is the centerpiece of the film and grounds the film in all of her conflicting emotions. Yes, it is a difficult story that you may already know from history class, but it is a worthwhile cinematic venture. Get a big box of popcorn and a few tissues.