In Mississippi in 1955, Emmett Till (Jalyn Hall) was brutally murdered while visiting his cousins for the summer. He was only fourteen years old. His mother Mamie (Danielle Deadwyler), completely beside herself in her loss, vowed to do whatever she can in order to expose this racist attack and to also bring the people involved to justice.
Knowing that the film was based on true events made for a harrowing experience. Part of me couldn’t believe what was unfolding on screen though the other, more logical part, knew that this only one horrible story amongst many others that African Americans had to and continue to endure. While the film did take some liberties here and there, it didn’t take way from its importance.
Deadwyler, in the role of Mamie Till-Mobley, was outstanding. If she doesn’t get an Oscar nomination for her performance then I’ll be baffled. The pure, raw emotion that she injected really gave me all the feels and brought me to tears on several occasions. She carried the movie on her back; without her it would not have had the same overall effect. I wish we could have seen more of Hall as Emmett though I obviously understand why that wasn’t possible. In addition, Whoopi Goldberg as Emmett’s grandmother and Haley Bennett as Carolyn Bryant were unrecognizable, albeit great choices.
Though parts of the movie were on the slower side, it did not deter me from being completely entranced with what was unfolding on screen. My interest snapped to attention when news broke of Emmett’s murder and it did not let up for a moment after. I will never forget the scenes of Mamie having to identify her son for the first time afterwards or them having an open casket at the funeral.
Overall, watching Till was an experience that I won’t soon forget. It was horrifying to witness, but I couldn’t turn my face away. I didn’t want to. The fact that this actually happened and that it took so long to do something about it is everything that is wrong with the world. Even more so, it’s horrible to acknowledge that these things continue to happen even today.