Sometimes race relations aren't always black and white, and sometimes they are painfully black and white. Justin Simien takes on an honest, albeit satirical, road trip through being black and white in today's college world when the lives of four black students from different walks of life collide, culminating in an ending that makes everyone look inward.
Justin Simien does a lot of great things in this movie. He presents the characters in a very realistic fashion in a world that believes that we exist in some form of post-racism, which we don't. This movie, while satirical, had traces of other movies such as Higher Learning or PCU with kids trying to figure out who they are and just where they belong. Not only that, but he touches on racism that people who aren't a minority might not understand. In one scene, Tyler James Williams gets asked by a female co-worker if she can "touch his fro." (And no, that isn't a euphemism for anything other than his giant afro) or the question that many Black-Americans might get asked such as "is that your real hair or is it a weave?" Things that a person not thinking might ask not meaning to be racist. The discussion of race is always an important topic but is a very tricky one. You don't want to come across as either biased towards one race or another, and you don't want to come across as preachy, but when you bring it across with two differing sides of the same race, then you have a movie that can walk the line a bit easier and not worry too much about the aforementioned traps.
The acting is top-notch. I really would like to see someone get a nomination, but it would be a coin flip for who should get it. Tyler James Williams does a phenomenal job. Kyle Gallner does a great job at really making you hate him. Tessa Thompson and Teyonah Parris, as leading ladies Sam White and Colandrea "˜Coco' Conners respectively, bring an interesting dichotomy to the difference between two Black-American women. And Dennis Haysbert as the father to Brandon P Bell brought a whole other viewpoint between Black-American families and the pressure that can be bubbling under the surface.
The movie is a very good one and one that everybody should watch. It gives a very interesting and different perspective that many people might be afraid to ask or be too afraid to contemplate on. The only fault I have with the film is the re-watchability (made up word but its my made up word) and unless you really want to sit down and focus on the film again, there isn't a real need. Also, except for the one white TA, every other white person in the film is completely clueless, but that might also be just a glaring reflection of white culture here in America. The movie has some very funny scenes and is worth the watch and also is worth showing to your family and friends. So wait for a good matinee or DVD.