‘Women of the Movement’ Review: ABC Series Based on Emmett Till

Its ambitions are commendable, but what is marketed as a story told from the point of view of Till’s mother, Mamie Till-Mobley, is missing key features.

The tragic story of the short life of Emmett Till, the 14-year-old Black boy brutally murdered for a racially motivated crime in the Jim Crow era, USA, is barely obscured. The heinous cruelty of his death, and the court crimes that followed, remain irresistible to storytellers. ABCnew anthology series of “Women of the Movement“As a recent addition. It’s a truth-based drama that ostensibly purports to focus on Till’s mother, Mamie Till-Mobley (Adrienne Warren), who has dedicated her life to seeking justice for her son, And it’s a worthwhile challenge. Despite how well Till’s death was well documented, his mother’s story is not established in the mainstream consciousness. But while the ambitions of “Women of the Movement” are clearly visible, it is a missed opportunity for a story told with broad strokes, muffled by the lack of a unique voice. , authoritative.

Emmett Till was murdered just days after he left Chicago to visit relatives in Mississippi in the summer of 1955. His “crime”: allegedly flirting with a white woman. Tortured and killed during the night, his body was thrown into the Tallahatchie River. The murder was a case of international interest, sparking the Civil Rights movement.

As the title suggests, “Women of the Movement” is not about anthropomorphizing Emmett Till – but neither is the need for Mamie Till-Mobley that is its mission. While Ryan Coogler’s “Fruitvale Station” tries to create sympathy for Oscar Grant, before his encounter with the police leads to his death, saved to the very end, “Women of the Movement” mainly appear after Till is murdered. It could be marketed as a story told from Till’s mother’s point of view, but she’s ultimately part of a cast of familiar names and faces, and worst of all, she backs down on her point of view. scores of male figures, including reporters and civil rights activists from around the country who have traveled to the tiny Mississippi town, as well as attorneys on both sides and police departments fighting over property rights. judge.

In a few moments with Emmett, he is described as a “talker” with bright eyes with an infectious smile, and a mind of relentless curiosity; a fearless child ready to take on the world, even if so innocent. The understanding of the tragic fate that awaited him lies ahead, severing a criminally short life of great promise, making his show pleasure all the more sad to watch. And in the decades after her murder, until her death in 2003, Mamie continued to tell her son’s story, which still haunts the American South.

Even if the statement “Women of the Movement” emphasizes the important role Black women play in the civil rights struggle of African Americans, it does not take viewers deep into their lives. for an exact feel for the complexity of each, beyond explanation. And as an implacable rebuke to the justice system’s long history of institutionalized racism, it simply isn’t conspicuous enough.

For the series to stand out and live up to its name, it will require a tougher, non-stop examination of Mamie’s inner life and/or the lives of women inspired by Mamie. her actions, in the rigorously analyzed context of a country consistently unfavorable to the Black experience.

For most of the “Women of the Movement,” Mamie’s portrayal is more like a human being in mental captivity. She is alone, but there are few truly private moments, solitude, and self-reflection. Her life revolves around her son, and she endures the kindness of strangers, even though their loyalty varies. However, it is not the study of the psychological effects of the kind of suffering that a story with these accretions faces. It is not an examination of a woman’s isolation and frustration in the face of political forces beyond her control, and her family interests and efforts. in repelling the lack of morality that surrounds her. Thus, even though Cerar is credited as the creator and host of the show, and Gina Prince-Bythewood as the director, the series progresses as if it were the product of an assembly line.

It’s curious why the series isn’t based on Till-Mobley’s actual memoir, “Death of Innocence: The Hate Crime Story That Changed America,” which she co-authored with Christopher Benson . Perhaps “Women of the Movement” would be better served if it were based on her first-person account. No one can really fathom her struggles, but, in her candid recollections, she is an incredibly compelling character who is unafraid to share her life story, including the murder of her son and the trial that followed, and her attempts at trying to make sense of it all.

Tragedy is at the same time a horrifying tale of a vulnerable but courageous woman’s torment, a psychological drama about how one’s spirit can be crushed just to rise to the top. a phoenix from the ashes, and the love story between a mother and her torn son. from her. Perhaps realizing its forgery, in December, ABC also released a limited trove of documents documenting Mamie Till-Mobley’s quest for justice. Titled “Let the World See” and featuring Nia Long, excerpts from Till-Mobley’s memoirs will be included.

“Women of the Movement” is led by a decorated cast, including Tony Award winners Warren, and Tonya Pinkins, and Emmy Award winner Glynn Turman among others, whose talents include they are not used appropriately. It’s rudimentary filmmaking, that’s enough. But “Women of the Movement” is neither as distinctive nor as harsh as it should be in 2022. In its attempt to fit in, it tries to do too much and is not navigated by a clear narrative voice. This isn’t the first, and likely won’t be, the last account of Emmett Till’s murder and aftermath. Unfortunately, it was not strong enough to separate itself from the cataclysm.

Grade C-

The six-episode “Women of the Movement” will air for three seasons starting Thursday, January 6 (8-10 p.m. ET), for three consecutive weeks.

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https://www.indiewire.com/2022/01/women-of-the-movement-review-1234688477/ ‘Women of the Movement’ Review: ABC Series Based on Emmett Till

Aila Slisco

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