TILL – Review by T.J. Callahan

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Till: “Either freedom for everyone or freedom fails.”

Fourteen year old African American, Emmett Till was lynched in a small town in Mississippi back in 1955 because he told a white store clerk she looked like a movie star. His mother wasn’t going to sit back and watch her only child become a forgotten soul of racism. She fought back. And she fought back hard.

Till tells the story of Emmett, but it’s told through Mamie Till-Mobley’s eyes and heart. It’s about a mother’s love and protection and trying to right a wrong against all odds. Danielle Deadwyler is Mamie and she reaches deep down and pulls out all the emotions…anguish, grit, anxiety, bitterness, exasperation, passion…and she did it with an inspired grace.

Emmett Till’s story has been told on film before, but not from his parent’s point of view. It’s a story that needs to be repeated to remind society to not become complacent, especially when it comes to prejudice. Till is a hard movie to watch. It’s the hard that makes it essential viewing. It’s not violence that makes us uncomfortable, but the amount of bigotry and inequity.

Writer/Director, Chinonye Chukwu, gives us a gripping and empowering film that pays close attention to detail from costumes, set design and historical facts. You’ll be mad at the end of Till, but don’t talk yourself out of seeing this film because of that.

Deadwyler is dead-on as a grieving mother fighting for justice. Remember her name come awards season. She’s the real reason to see Till. It gets a 9.

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T. J. Callahan

Longtime Houston radio personality, T.J. Callahan switched gears from traffic and news reporting as a member of the award winning Hudson and Harrigan Show on KILT to directing you to the right movie theatre as the resident film critic for The Sam Malone Show on AM 1070 The Answer in Houston. Since 2009, T.J. has exclusively critiqued premiering films on such stations as KRMD in Shreveport, La., KILT in Houston, WCKT in Sarasota, Fla., as well as on The Chris X Blayney Show on The Liberty Eagle Radio Network and streaming on Radio Brave. Entertaining and informative, T.J. gets right to the point and lets you know whether the latest epic is worth your time. Listen to her live every Thursday morning at 9:20 central on KNTH. T.J. is also a proud member of the Critics Choice Association, the Houston Film Critics Society and a board member and 2017 inductee to the Texas Radio Hall of Fame.