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The Untold Story of Emmett Louis Till (2005)

tomatometer

97

Average Rating: 7.6/10
Reviews Counted: 31
Fresh: 30 | Rotten: 1

Without sensationalism or flinching from the brutality of the crime, this documentary is an eye-opening call for justice.

100

Average Rating: 7.7/10
Critic Reviews: 18
Fresh: 18 | Rotten: 0

Without sensationalism or flinching from the brutality of the crime, this documentary is an eye-opening call for justice.

audience

82

liked it
Average Rating: 4.1/5
User Ratings: 452

My Rating

Movie Info

In August 1955, Mamie Till-Mobely of Chicago sent her only child, 14-year old Emmett Louis Till, to visit relatives in the Mississippi Delta. Little did she know that eight days later, Emmett would be abducted from his great uncle's home, brutally beaten and murdered for one of the oldest southern taboos: addressing a white woman in public. The murderers were soon arrested but later acquitted of murder by an all-white, all-male jury. However, Emmett did not die in vain. His horrific, senseless

PG-13,

Documentary, Special Interest

Feb 28, 2006

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All Critics (31) | Top Critics (18) | Fresh (30) | Rotten (1) | DVD (8)

Beauchamp, who worked on his film for nine years, dutifully reinterviews the surviving witnesses, and more effectively than any previous documentary or return look at the case, re-creates the atmosphere of a 1950s Mississippi.

February 17, 2006 Full Review Source: Detroit Free Press
Detroit Free Press
Top Critic IconTop Critic

This well-focused, short (75 minute) film will be an eye opener for those who didn't live through the era. For those who did, it will be all too familiar.

February 9, 2006 Full Review Source: Arizona Republic
Arizona Republic
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Untold Story is a documentary of compassion and urgency, a film that cries out, as virtually every film and story on this subject does, for justice, something that didn't happen in 1950s Mississippi.

January 12, 2006 Full Review Source: Orlando Sentinel
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Potent and searing.

December 2, 2005
Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Critic IconTop Critic

You leave the theater feeling moved by a mother's courage, sickened by the crime and a little frustrated, wondering if this unquiet moment in our history will ever rest easy.

October 14, 2005 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Beauchamp expertly excerpts long stretches from the extensive television coverage of the 1955 events, juxtaposing them with present-day interviews with the people who lived though these traumatic happenings.

October 13, 2005 Full Review Source: Variety
Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Features some sweet moments of reflection by the late Mamie Till during which she wistfully reminisces about the intelligent, curious and animated son taken away from her so brutally and senselessly.

May 31, 2007 Full Review Source: BlackFilm.com
BlackFilm.com

In his retelling of the events, Beauchamp reconstructs the legacy of diaspora.

March 1, 2007 Full Review Source: Film Journal International
Film Journal International

uncovers additional evidence and becomes both a suitable memorial as well as a call to action

February 12, 2006 Full Review Source: Old School Reviews
Old School Reviews

The film is only 70 minutes long, but it is nearly impossible to sit through, not only because of the lingering image at its center of Emmett Till's battered body but because of the visceral sense of outrage it can't help but provoke in you.

February 3, 2006 Full Review Source: Oregonian
Oregonian

Beauchamp reaches this point without exploitation or cheap foreshadowing; there are no dramatic music stings underlying the outwardly innocuous biography before it methodically descends into true American tragedy.

January 12, 2006 Full Review Source: Orlando Weekly
Orlando Weekly

It seems all too easy nowadays to think this stuff is all ancient history...Beauchamp's bracing wake-up call shows otherwise.

December 9, 2005 Full Review Source: New Times
New Times

The story has been told often in film and literature, but in The Untold Story of Emmett Louis Till ... director Keith Beauchamp takes a rewarding approach.

November 28, 2005 Full Review Source: Kansas City Star
Kansas City Star

Whatever power Keith Beauchamp's film possesses as a work of art has been superseded by its political impact...

October 14, 2005
Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)

I expect more from a theatrical release, more than just information presented in an orderly fashion.

October 1, 2005 Full Review Source: Goatdog's Movies
Goatdog's Movies

A painful reminder that reparations still need to be made for what whites have done to blacks in this country.

October 1, 2005 Full Review Source: Slant Magazine
Slant Magazine

Audience Reviews for The Untold Story of Emmett Louis Till

[font=Century Gothic]"The Untold Story of Emmitt Louis Till" is a documentary about 14-year old Emmitt Louis Till, who was tortured and lynched while on vacation with relatives in Mississippi in 1955. This and the failure to convict the killers in a courtroom were one of the main sparks of the Civil Rights Movement. This documentary really does not provide any new information and simply relies on talking heads and archival material.(One of the interviews is with Till's mother who provides the emotional core of the movie.) The most informative parts involve Till's funeral in Chicago and the preparations for that. There is a very odd coda, though. The main point of this documentary is that there are few things more powerful than a mother's grief.[/font]
[font=Century Gothic][/font]
[font=Century Gothic][color=navy]"Darwin's Nightmare" is a powerful documentary about the thoroughly catastrophic ecosystem of Lake Victoria in Tanzania, a country on the edge of famine as it is. Some years before, Nile Perch were introduced into the lake which not only killed off all the other fish in the lake but also cannibalize themselves. Humans are affected because if they do not have one of the relative handful of jobs involved with the catching and processing of the fish(which are all shipped off to Europe without anything beneficial in return), then they must turn to prostitution, find some other way to survive or starve. But even for the people who do work, life can be risky - HIV/AIDS is rampant, fishing is itself dangerous and the local airport's primitive conditions make things a little risky trying to take off and land. The movie interviews people involved like factory managers, airport security, Russian pilots, a prositute, a minister and a local artist.(No outside experts are interviewed but we can see for ourselves that something is seriously wrong here.) My only complaint is that none of the people lucky enough to work in the factory are interviewed to get a sense of how their lives are. This is an excellent documentary about neo-colonialist attitudes that allow for people to make a buck at the expense of other people they have no interest in helping.[/color][/font]
August 28, 2005
Harlequin68
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

Can't believe this was only a few decades ago. A good doc about injustice and racism.
November 16, 2010
KLFilmmaker

Super Reviewer

Probably the most compelling and disturbing documentary I have ever seen! It truly opened my eyes as to racial injustices in the Southern states of the U.S. prior to the 1960s. Emmett Louis Till was a catalyst to the American Civil Rights Movement, and as such, I believe virtually everyone should spare some time to see this.
March 15, 2009
Parannoyed

Super Reviewer

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