Producing laughs while bringing to light the still real problem of discrimination, “Dear White People” brings a bold voice to the cinema.
The movie focuses on four black students facing their own individual issues as well as the all-encompassing problem of racism at their Ivy League college. But the main theme of the film was identity.
The four students, Troy, Coco, Lionel and Sam, all struggle to find themselves and where they fit in. Although each character is completely different, they all face similar issues. From peer pressure and sexuality to discrimination and racism, the movie brings very relatable themes to the big screen.
Troy and Coco, played by Brandon P. Bell and Teyonah Paris, try to fit in with the crowd — mainly white students — while Lionel, Tyler Williams, goes on unnoticed and unheard. Sam, Tessa Thompson, is a ringleader type who stirs up trouble and ends up getting more power than she bargained for.
“Dear White People” shows the discrimination not only directed at the black community, but inside it as well. Those who are proud of their race look down on those who seek acceptance from the white majority, coming up with ridiculous names for them like ‘Oofa’ and ‘Nose job’ and at times shunning them all together.
When a racist Halloween party goes too far, the African American students, along with students from other cultures, ban together to put a stop to the party. Putting aside their differences, Troy, Coco, Lionel and Sam pull together in a way none of them saw coming. All of them find out something new about themselves and start to feel that they belong.
Although the film deals with some heavy content, the overall mood is light and encourages people to laugh at themselves.
Sam’s radio show, “Dear White People,” draws laughter from people of all backgrounds. The script is witty and the cast funny while maintaining their strong views on the problems addressed.
Even though the film came together nicely in the end, the beginning was a bit confusing and hard to follow. The audience got dropped right into the thick of it from the beginning, and had to play catch up to get the gist of what was happening. By the middle of the movie, though, everyone was up to speed.
All in all, the movie has a strong voice for those who still face racism today and brings current problems to the front and center instead of carefully dancing around the issue like so many do when these topics are brought to the surface.
Besides the somewhat confusing beginnings, “Dear White People” captures the attention and will have you relating to the characters and their struggle for identity. Thoroughly enjoyable, this powerful, funny and thought provoking satire is a must see.
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