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Flix at :48: 'Till' is an honest portrait of a mother's grief and determination

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A poster for the movie "Till" features a Black woman with a resolute gaze.

One of the many reasons film continues to be important, in general, is its ability to recreate important events from history. To show young viewers what's happened before their own lives. To remind others of tragedies or successes that may have been forgotten. That's what the film "Till" will hopefully do — in addition to highlighting an ugly part of American history which many people prefer to ignore.

"Till" is a historical drama based on the real-life story of Emmett Till, a 14-year-old Black boy who was murdered by two white men in Mississippi in 1955. This film does not focus on Emmett Till's suffering and death. The focus is on Emmett Till's mother, Mamie Till-Mobley, and how she endured criticism to expose the racism behind her son's murder and bring the killers to justice. Mamie brought national attention to her son's murder by insisting his casket remain open for his funeral so the world could see the gruesome mutilated reality of racism.

Surprisingly, "Till" is not an overtly political film, because it spends much of its time beautifully humanizing Mamie Till-Mobley and her family. Nigerian-born director, co-writer and executive producer Chinonye Chukwu ("Clemency," 2019) keeps "Till" emotionally grounded by showing zero physical violence and avoiding the well-tread path of lionizing Black American anguish.

Viewers will still feel a punch to their hearts though, because "Till" presents so honestly and directly a portrait of a mother's grief and determination from the leading performance of Danielle Deadwyler ("The Harder They Fall," 2021). She sustains an authoritative screen presence that is so quietly commanding, so patiently assertive, and so shattered, I will be shocked if she is not nominated for Best Actress at the Oscars. (I will be shocked if she is not nominated for Best Actress at every possible ceremony in the upcoming award season.)

I know this film was released a few weeks ago on Oct. 28, but I had to address it this week to remind people. Please see this film before it leaves theaters.

Casey T. Allen is a native of Utah who graduated from Utah State University with a Bachelor's degree in English in 2007. He has worked in many capacities throughout USU campus and enjoys his time at UPR to continually exercise his writing.