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MOVIES (LFF 2022): Till - Review

In 1955, 14-year-old Emmett Till went to Mississippi and never came back - any history student will know this story. As an act of protest and to let the world know of what evil had been committed against her son with the perpetrators not facing any repercussions, her mother Mamie buried him in an open casket. Till, directed by Clemency filmmaker Chinonye Chukwu - is a powerful, devastating rallying cry of anger against hate - and about as vital a depiction of these events as you're ever going to get.

Anchored around the performance of Danielle Deadwyler, sure to be a best actress Oscar winner; as Mamie, Till opens with Emmett waving goodbye to his mother and heading down south to see his cousins in Mississippi. Anyone who's studied history will know what follows - and the inescapable dread of what was to come is captured by Chukwu brilliantly - you get to see his hopes and dreams as a character; and the film doesn't just make him known for the way he died, but also how he lived - which is why the opening segment is so, so vitally important in making this film work. Jalyn Hall is perfectly cast and does an amazing job giving Till unique mannerisms and capturing the bond between mother and son so perfectly; every second that he's away from his mother, you can tell that Mamie misses him deeply - Danielle Deadwyler is able to convey such a broad emotional range with one devastating, punctuating performance after another - we've just found something that will likely become a new shown-in-classrooms movie all across the world; and it absolutely deserves to be - because what a good important depiction of events this is. The story of Till couldn't have been told better and in a way more relevant anger.

Mercifully sidestepping the over-reliance on trauma to draw on emotional performances that films like this can fall into, Till's biggest strength is that it showcases on who Mamie and Emmett are as people. It captures Mamie's grief, her rage and her anger - and Danielle Deadwyler's performance is even better than her one in Station Eleven. Legitimately, one of the best of the year opposite Brendan Fraser. I can't wait to see them both win best actor awards. As great as they are too I also hope Chinonye Chukwu gets some much needed recognition that she should've recieved for Clemency - one of the best films of the last 10 years. Please do check that out when you can.


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