The Best of Enemies

Critics Consensus

The Best of Enemies has the best of intentions, but they're derailed by a problematic perspective and a disappointing lack of insight.



Total Count: 73


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User Ratings: 367
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Based on a true story, THE BEST OF ENEMIES centers on the unlikely relationship between Ann Atwater (Henson), an outspoken civil rights activist, and C.P. Ellis (Rockwell), a local Ku Klux Klan leader who reluctantly co-chaired a community summit, battling over the desegregation of schools in Durham, North Carolina during the racially-charged summer of 1971. The incredible events that unfolded would change Durham and the lives of Atwater and Ellis forever.

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Taraji P. Henson
as Ann Atwater
Sam Rockwell
as Claiborne Paul Ellis
Babou Ceesay
as Bill Riddick
Anne Heche
as Mary Ellis
Wes Bentley
as Floyd Kelly
Nick Searcy
as Garland Keith
John Gallagher Jr.
as Lee Trombley
Bruce McGill
as Councilman Carvie Oldham
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Critic Reviews for The Best of Enemies

All Critics (73) | Top Critics (19) | Fresh (39) | Rotten (34)

  • But like Peter Farrelly's road-trip dramedy, Bissell's film stretches and flattens history in ways big and small.

    Apr 12, 2019 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…
  • Comparisons will inevitably be made to Green Book for its upbeat vibe, but in terms of serious craft and admirable aspirations, this film is more in the league of 42 and Selma.

    Apr 11, 2019 | Full Review…
  • It's impossible to ignore that the film is yet another Hollywood narrative of racial reconciliation centered on a white protagonist-and worse, it's one that seems much more interested in the Klan's white targets than its black ones.

    Apr 5, 2019 | Full Review…

    Inkoo Kang

    Top Critic
  • The film travels such an obvious path and falls into such a predictable rhythm, it doesn't quite carry the emotional resonance such a powerful true-life story should convey.

    Apr 5, 2019 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…
  • Bissell, from the start, is interested in perpetrators, not victims, in illustrations of plot points, not curiosity about context.

    Apr 5, 2019 | Full Review…
  • The kind of easy-to-digest pablum that provides emotional catharsis and a safe space for white liberals to tut disapprovingly at racism.

    Apr 5, 2019 | Full Review…

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