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10/17/14

Dear White People

This 2014 Seattle International Film Festival entry from the USA is a social satire about racial issues on a college campus. (This review was sent out to a few of you in May, 2014.) We focus on two of the houses that provide quarters for some of the students...one is mostly black and the other mostly white. We see undercurrents of race, drugs, intolerance, and sex, and we draw our own conclusions.

The Dean of Students and the President of the University attended school together; one is black and the other white. Appearances to the contrary, they are NOT equal.

Here's the cast:
  • Tyler James Williams (Lots of TV) is Lionel. I listed him first because he ultimately is the catalyst needed to address the issue. We see things through his reporter's eyes. Housing is his first problem...
  • Tessa Thompson (Lots of TV) is Sam, an opinionated talk radio host and student on campus. She runs for president of her house ...and wins!
  • Brandon P. Bell (Lots of TV) is our conformist Troy, son of the Dean and head of his house...but not for long.
  • Kyle Gallner ("Beautiful Creatures") is edgy Kurt, a racist spark plug in his house...AND son of the university president.
  • Dennis Haysbert (Lots of TV) is the Dean. He wants more for his son Troy and is afraid of how he will appear to others.
  • Peter Syvertsen (Lots of TV) is President Hutchinson, proud of Kurt, despite how his son behaves, and is determined to prove his campus is NOT racist.
Justin Simien capably wrote and directed this involving story. The dialogue is almost too erudite, but I understand what he is doing. He makes it clear that intolerance cuts both ways.

I appreciated the soundtrack. Among other pieces, I heard "Rites of Spring," "Afternoon of a Faun," an excerpt from "Carmen" and one that is driving me crazy because I can sing it for you but I can't think of its name!

Oh well....
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Here is a brief preview:
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