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#Film Review: Netflix’s Mudbound (2017)

Director: Dee Rees

Rating: 5/5

This film is a heavy one, but it is certainly worth watching. In this case, Netflix is showing us a story of Blacks in Mississippi during and right after the WWII.

In that, we meet two families and learn about their lives, with black family renting the land from the white family while dreaming of owning their own land and being their own bosses. The dream is quite a simple one. They want to have their own house and their own land (which they are perfectly happy to cultivate with their own hands rather than using posh machinery). However, even more importantly, they want to be free to do what they like and not allegedly be free but still have to jump and help the white family whenever they need something and come to ask for assistance, clearly not expecting no as an answer.

The film is about racism and suffering Blacks in the US endured. Therefore, it did not matter that Ronsel Jackson (Jason Mitchell) was serving his country in the WWII. When he returned from war and while still in the uniform he is denied the right to sit together with whites in the bus or to leave the store through the front doors. The film portrays his pain and anger really well.

Friendships with whites were also seen as unacceptable and thus as Ronsel and Jamie McAllan (Garrett Hedlund) develop friendship this is frown upon and Ronsel has to hide when in the car with Jamie, so that nobody sees that he is sitting in the car in the front. However, Jamie’s father is an old racist and when he discovers that Ronsel had a white girlfriend in Belgium he charges him for an offence and KKK  takes over to punish him for his ‘crime’, while Jamie is forced to watch and chose the punishment for him. Afterwards, Jamie also decides to revenge his friend and turns against his own racist father…

I don’t want to go into too many details not to spoil the film but it is an interesting and very relevant watch for sure. The film is a family drama and it shows the pain and suffering of Blacks in the US but it also shows pain and consequences for those white people who wanted to befriend Blacks and treat them as equals, either because they believed in equality or because someone has saved their lives during the war…

An interesting feature in this film is that every character is telling a story and explaining how they were feeling about something. The most remarkable one for me was a story of Ronsel’s mother Florence Jackson (Mary J. Blige)  and the reason behind accepting to work for the while family. She didn’t want to leave her family to go and help the white family care for their sick children but she feared saying no. In addition, when she came to the white family’s house she very memorably recalls a story of her mother who also cared for other family’s children. Only then she realised why her mother had to do it. She also realised something even scarier, and that is that if the white children do not get better that will be the end of them as a family for it would be very likely that the black family would have to take the blame…

Thank you for reading.

 

 

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