Awards season is in full swing, and with only a couple of months to go until the Oscars, anticipation for which 2022 films will be nominated is building to a fever pitch. One film that we think stands a good chance of being in the pack is Till, a biopic drama that’s been getting praise from critics.
Directed by Nigerian American director Chinoye Chukwu, it’s based on the real-life story of Mamie Till-Bradley, whose son Emmett was brutally murdered in 1950s America in a racially motivated attack. His mother became both an educator and a campaigner for justice following his death.
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Leading the film is Danielle Deadwyler (The Harder They Fall, Station Eleven) as Mamie, with the film told entirely from her perspective. In Mississippi in 1955, Emmett Till was lynched because he had spoken to a 21-year-old white woman, and had accused him of touching and whistling at her. He was abducted and severely beaten by her husband and his half-brother, before being shot and dropped into a river to drown. His disfigured body was recovered, and his mother Mamie insisted on there being an open cast funeral to show the world the brutality of the crime- though his killers were still acquitted. Emmett was just 14 years old, and the film deals with the aftermath of his death, and how Mamie became a civil rights activist.
The film doesn’t show the murder directly, but Chukwu stated that she wanted to make “a work that is devastating and instructive in the precise way it tackles one of the most horrific events in American history.” Producer Barbara Broccoli, best known for her work on the Bond franchise, had attempted to get the film made for nearly 20 years, facing resistance in Hollywood to telling the story of the notorious incident. Chukwu also wanted the film to “begin and end the story with joy”, despite the pain of what happened. The film has received critical acclaim, with Deadwyler’s leading performance getting particular praise. Featuring alongside her include Jalyn Hall as Emmett, Frankie Faison, Haley Bennett, Jayme Lawson, Sean Patrick Thomas and Whoopi Goldberg.