I Am Not Your Negro

Critics Consensus

I Am Not Your Negro offers an incendiary snapshot of James Baldwin's crucial observations on American race relations -- and a sobering reminder of how far we've yet to go.



Total Count: 197


Audience Score

User Ratings: 14,181
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Movie Info

In 1979, James Baldwin wrote a letter to his literary agent describing his next project, Remember This House. The book was to be a revolutionary, personal account of the lives and successive assassinations of three of his close friends-Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr. At the time of Baldwin's death in 1987, he left behind only thirty completed pages of his manuscript. Now, in his incendiary new documentary, master filmmaker Raoul Peck envisions the book James Baldwin never finished. The result is a radical, up-to-the-minute examination of race in America, using Baldwin's original words and flood of rich archival material. I Am Not Your Negro is a journey into black history that connects the past of the Civil Rights movement to the present of #BlackLivesMatter. It is a film that questions black representation in Hollywood and beyond. And, ultimately, by confronting the deeper connections between the lives and assassination of these three leaders, Baldwin and Peck have produced a work that challenges the very definition of what America stands for.

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Critic Reviews for I Am Not Your Negro

All Critics (197) | Top Critics (37) | Fresh (194) | Rotten (3)

  • I Am Not Your Negro is an utterly brilliant film - bold, galvanising, even gripping...

    Sep 13, 2017 | Rating: 4.5/5 | Full Review…
  • ... Baldwin's words - sometimes spoken by Samuel L. Jackson - guide us through the narrative, which marries archival footage of Baldwin in interviews and forums with film of his era's political and cultural milestones.

    Sep 13, 2017 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • Baldwin re-emerges as a devastatingly eloquent speaker and public intellectual; a figure who deserves his place alongside Edward Said, Frantz Fanon or Gore Vidal.

    Apr 7, 2017 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • Raoul Peck's lyrical documentary was nominated for an Oscar this year, and it really should have won.

    Apr 6, 2017 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

    Ed Potton

    Times (UK)
    Top Critic
  • It's an astonishing, often challenging and sharp examination of race in the United States, confronting how the country's history repeats and how Baldwin insisted we must remember, relentlessly question, remain conscientious and resist.

    Feb 24, 2017 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…
  • The result - hard-hitting and insightful - is a reminder that the more things change, the more they stay the same.

    Feb 23, 2017 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for I Am Not Your Negro

  • Jun 30, 2017
    James Baldwin was one of the most vital voices in America's 20th century and thanks to this movie his voice seems more essential then before. This important film shares Baldwin's views on racism at a point in his life where he was 63. Angry, tired, introspective, enlightened is how Baldwin comes across (in a letter read by Samuel L. Jackson and visualized brilliantly by Raoul Peck). This is a film that needs to be shared in homes, schools and any venue where discussion can follow.
    Aldo G Super Reviewer
  • May 25, 2017
    Everyone should see it. Especially white liberals and white conservatives. Clarence Page said of James Baldwin: Baldwin's essays never stopped articulating the anger and frustration felt by real-life black Americans with more clarity and style than any other writer of his generation. This film is as relevant now as it was during Baldwin's life. Those who doubt his impact should consider that the FBI file on him ran to 1,884 pages. Clearly white America was terrified of him, yet he had white friends and advocated for reconciliation. This movie is hard to watch. It made me uncomfortable and angry. I can only imagine how it affects African Americans who see it. It is a fitting tribute to a great man, and one of our greatest writers.
    Morris N Super Reviewer
  • May 14, 2017
    Baldwin's always been a figure of fascination for me and Peck's intriguing portrait only deepens my appreciation of the man. That so much of what he had to say is still relevant speaks to this country's deep failings.
    Alec B Super Reviewer
  • Apr 18, 2017
    The fact that this unmissable documentary has been somehow met with strong opposition from a segment of the public is symptomatic evidence of its importance as an objective examination that should make us seriously reflect on the very roots of racism in America.
    Carlos M Super Reviewer

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