I know a lot of you guys (myself included) were/are excited to see this movie because this is one of the few times we are going to see racism on college campuses discussed in film and a chance to see 3 dimensional Black characters navigate through it all.
Well this isn’t that movie ladies and gentleman. This movie really doesn’t do a good job at discussing any of that.
First of all there was really nothing that indicated that there was any racism at this fictional college. There was nothing that indicated that the white college students were racist. Sure they were douchebags and they did bully Lionel’s character but that seemed like it was more homophobia than racism (which is ok, but they never really examined that either).
Most of the bullying and the micro-aggression in the film was committed by the Black students.
Most of the racism in the film is facilitated by the Black students, especially with the two plot twists in the movie.
Sam White and Coco Conners (OMG you can tell by the names who the light skin girl and who’s the dark skin girl) are both equally terrible people but guess who gets love and a happy ending?
It seems like Sam is the only one who gets character development around here. She comes out the film a “better” person while Coco is reduced to a slam piece, Troy is still Mr. Perfect.
One of the things older Black people fear about interracial relationships is that dating a White person would make you less “down for the cause” and make you silence your activism and they totally did that to Sam in this movie.
My White friend pointed out that this film makes it seem like racism just exists in Black people’s heads and it doesn’t actually cripple, ruin, or threaten any of these kids in this film.
The Tyler Perry quips didn’t really do anything for me because this movie is just as bad or maybe worst because the film doesn’t do a good job at examining anything. I give Tyler Perry credit for giving the cycle of abuse some context while Justin Simien’s universe almost exists in a vacuum.
This maybe just Justin Simien’s lack of experience as a writer/director but he didn’t do a good job at building tension so the riot feels a bit cheap and contrived.
This may come off as petty but the director doesn’t seem to welcome Spike Lee comparison and claims his influences are Woody Allen and Ingmar Bergman, which i think is him trying to seem more sophisticated but Dear White People is part School Daze and part Do The Right Thing without the pay off and the moral ambiguity
Justin Simen probably should have done a Woody Allen-esque film for some experience before taking on a such a hot button topic.
The truth is this isn’t a very good movie and it becomes very cheap in the end. I know some of y’all gave some money for the kickstarter so you guys should go see it but I will say I was very disappointed. I think all those people who thought the film would be about attacking White people would be very pleased with the film.