Dear White People (2014)
Critic Consensus: Dear White People adds a welcome new voice to cinema's oft-neglected discussion of race, tackling its timely themes with intelligence, honesty, and gratifyingly sharp wit.
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Critic Reviews for Dear White People
The best moments get to the heart of Simien's thesis that what is supposed to be post-racial America isn't all that much different from what came before.
A timely and important look at black identity and how it's informed by by stereotypes in the media
Where it scores big is its wealth of ideas-visual, emotional, cultural-and its deep well of bitter, voice-of-experience rage
Even as the jokes cut deep, Dear White People doesn't hesitate to get real.
Screenplay is tight, funny, smart and insightful, and [the] direction has just enough indie feel without becoming too self-conscious or preachy.
The pitch on Dear White People is that it's "Do the Right Thing for the Obama generation," which is both an oversell and a disservice to Justin Simien's witty satire about race relations on a fictional Ivy League campus.
Audience Reviews for Dear White People
On an elite campus racial tensions cause a black student to infiltrate a white frat house. Energetic, politically significant, and delightfully witty, is Higher Learning and Do the Right Thing with a smirk. It's satire whereas the others were grittier dramas with satirical edges. The character-driven plot suffers a second act lull, and one plot point comes from nowhere, but the rest is fresh and interesting. In a Hollywood landscape where almost all the films about race are simplistic or insulting (2004 Best Picture winner Crash was both), this film is such a welcomed breath of fresh air that it's easy to forgive any of its flaws. Overall, director Justin Simien is a fresh new voice, and I can't wait for his follow-up.
"Dear White People" is a film full of divisive issues on race, presented with hysterical point of view by writer/director Justin Simien. The main takeaway of this film is the issue of identity when you are classified as the "Other" in a white dominated society. Many different perspectives emerge from the various black cast members: that of the upper middle class rich kid who don't see disparity, though their actions contribute to it, the voice of an angry faction fed up with white privilege, and whom places race in every conversation, and the voice of someone who doesn't know their racial identity because of their various interests. Every issue that this film brings up makes you, as an audience member, angry and enlivened. The fact that racism's biases are so entrenched in our lives, and yet we treat it as a dead, age old form of degradation is unfathomable. The characters sometimes rely on clichés, and aren't always as fully developed as I would like, but their problems and motivations are fleshed out. Writer/Director Justin Simien has a unique, personal voice that rings true, and even if you don't enjoy the film, I wouldn't doubt you will be thinking about it a long time afterwards.
Tyler James Williams is the best eye-actor of his generation. You can tell this is a young film-maker, he drifts into cliches a bit too often, but I'm gonna keep an eye on him, I could see great things coming.
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