Movie Review: "Dear White People"
“Dear White People” shakes things up so that its core humor and sarcasm does not cover up the controversial race issues that need to be addressed. Instead, it highlights and provokes thoughts and emotions about certain issues that society is afraid to discuss, or dare to even mention, in regards to the black community. It tackles sexuality, hair, economic status and so much more.
This provocative tale showcases a college student named Samantha White, a typical rebel Lisa Bonet-esque type. She runs to become the head of her predominantly black residence hall in order to “bring black back” to her university. Throughout her journey to bring black back to Winchester University, the storylines and controversial issues of other characters intertwine with Sam’s story.
There’s Troy Fairbanks, the upper echelon, wannabe white boy, who happens to be the son of the dean. Lionel Higgins, the not-black-enough black boy, goes undercover to get to the scoop on the “Black Power” movement. Colandrea “Coco” Connors, the rags-to-riches girl, knows how to play both sides of the fence, especially in terms of getting her name out there. Although their outward appearance and reputation might say one thing, no character in this movie is what they seem to portray.
The portrayal of the characters by the actors is unique to each role. The specific traits of each character and how they would be perceived in reality is spot-on. As a satire, the acting is a bit exaggerated, but serves the greater purpose of the movie and scheme of the plot.
Writer, director and producer Justin Simien tackles issues that would be “awkward” to discuss for those outside of a minority standpoint with satire and wittiness. He takes elements of controversy and makes them realistic and relevant to the young audience directed towards the film. The stereotypes and references made throughout the film allow it to produce authenticity that is lacking from a lot of films that have similar goals, or specific moments, as this one.
“Dear White People” is a movie unlike any other of this time period and generation. It breaks down barriers that at one time would be taboo, but now opens up a can of reality for the world to see. It is sure to be a staple movie for generations to come.
Read Brianna Williams’ interview with writer-director Justin Simien.
Dear White People (R, 100 min) is now playing at AMC Georgetown and Regal Gallery Place.