Title: Dear White People
MPAA Rating: R
Director: Justin Simian
Starring: Tessa Thompson, Tyler James Williams, Kyle Gallner
Runtime: 1 hr 48 mins
What It Is: A look into being black in a predominantly white Ivy League college. We’re introduced to Sam White (Thompson) Media major and host of her own radio show “Dear White People” who has a very vocal opinion on the state of race relations not only one campus but around the world as a whole. It’s that voice that leads her to be head of house for her predominantly black house over the golden boy Troy Fairbanks (Brandon Bell). Pressures mound as the College president’s son Kurt (Gallner) begins to stir the pot of racial tension particularly Sam due to her unflinching attitude.
What We Think: It is a satire as sharp as the knives it throws out there. Simian looks like a guy to watch out for on the indie scene and Tess Thompson is a fine actress who could have a long career ahead of her. She has already been a supporting actress in a Best Picture nominee with her appearance in Selma. The title will turn off a lot of people, and it’s part of the divisive nature of the film itself. Looking through comments surrounding the film there’s an air of racial divide meaning that the jokes it told hit their target.
Our Grade: B+, As a comedy it has enough jokes to keep the thing moving. As a message it’s a bit too overbearing and knocks you over the head with it’s political agenda. One big plus for the film is the fantastic dialogue, it’s snappy, sardonic and to the point. It says so much about society in a blunt and straightforward way. I am really looking forward to seeing where Simian takes his career. It seems as though Simian and Whiplash director Damian Chazelle a representing a new batch of director with a unique and intriguing voice, telling interesting stories. Simian’s characters are built really well and fleshed out for the most part. Dear White People is an interesting film that people need to see.