Friday, October 28, 2022

Till - Review


Nothing is more powerful than the love, and strong will, of a mother. That’s the tone and energy that Till operates with, the devastating story of Mamie Till-Mobley in the wake of tragedy, and seeing the lengths that she’ll will go to for some form of justice, even if the likelihood of finding it seems low. However, the impending case and headlines surrounding the death of Emmett Till become so much more then just one mother seeking answers for what happened to her son.

In 1955, a trip to Mississippi to see family ends in tragedy when 14-year-old Emmett Till is killed. The following events track Mamie Till-Mobley’s relentless pursuit of justice, amidst her own immense grief and anger at the horrific fate of her only child. 

It’s easy to be skeptical about this film. The marketing makes it out to be the same early 2000’s retelling of historical events that offer nothing beyond the story that so many already know. But Till wisely offers a different perspective, opting to focus on the aftermath and Mamie Till-Mobley’s grief instead. And in that way, Till becomes even more emotionally effecting watching the pain of her story, and the performance of Danielle Deadwyler.

In reality, the screenplay for Till is still relatively conventional, but the performance of Danielle Deeadwyler is a must-see. The command she has of the screen is masterful, channeling, what appears to be, very real heartbreak and resilience into her performance. It’s one of the most realistic portraits of grief put to film, and it’s all in her eyes. Behind her eyes is all the emotions she is trying so desperately to contain, even when the southern media and seas of white people seek to tear her down, she stands strong.

Till aims to land in very specific space, the moment where words cannot articulate how you’re feeling. And in creating these moments, Deadwyler’s performance is essential to anchor these moments. Where others are concerned with the next steps in the movement, Deadwyler simply wants to do the best for her child.

It would’ve been very easy for this film to be the same self-congratulatory, trauma laced experience that focus on all the surface level moments that many films have done in the past. But it doesn’t do that. It instead chooses to be an exploration on the refusal to ignore, to look away from the evil of the world, and looks at the strength one needs in the face of it. The willpower of those individuals is immeasurable, and Till focus its energy into one of those very remarkable people in Mamie Till-Mobley.

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