- Danielle Deadwyler, Jalyn Hall, Frankie Faison, Haley Bennett
- Written by
- Keith Beauchamp, Chinonye Chakwu, and Michael Reilly
- Directed by
- Chinonye Chukwu
- Run Time
- 2h 10 min
- Release Date
- October 14th, 2022
The name Emmett Till is one of those names from History that you just know. We know it because we have heard the story about what happened to him on that day back in 1955. Although we might know the name, the power the name had, has faded through the years, but Till is a movie that will add weight to it once again.
Mamie Till – Mobley (Danielle Deadwyler) and Emmett Till ( Jalyn Hall) are trying to live the best life they can in Chicago. Mamie has a good job and her son Emmett is her world, as she tries to raise him the right way. Emmett has an innocence about him as his mother has kind of kept him in a protective bubble. Although he is aware of the world outside his own, it is more about hearing things from his mom than seeing them for himself. In Chicago he is under his mother’s watchful eye, but Emmett wants to see his cousins in Mississippi, in which a whole different world exists than the one he knows. Everything starts off good, as Emmett spends times with his cousins, but one wrong move is about to give meaning to the name Emmett Till. For Mamie, it was her worst fears coming to life, as she tried to warn Emmett of the things to do while there, including being “small” as to avoid any problems. Of course sometimes problems find you no matter how “small” you are and Mamie’s world has imploded with the death of her only child. Although everyone knows who carried out this horrible crime, the time and place doesn’t leave much hope for anything to be done about it. Unfortunately things played out exactly as everyone knew they would, but where the courts failed Mamie, a movement gave her another way to seek it.
Written by Michael Reilly, Keith Beauchamp, and Chinonye Chukwu, the latter directing, Till retells this story for a new generation to remind us that this happened not that long ago. In fact if Emmett was alive today he would have turned eighty-one years old, which in of itself is a staggering piece of information. With this story it would be easy to stay focused on Till as your central character, but instead everything is told though Mamie’s eyes, thus adding a more emotional punch than this story already had. Chukwu also makes the choice to not show the violence against Till and instead pays tribute to his legacy with what he suffered without re-traumatizing audiences by visually witnessing his pain. While there are generally painful and difficult moments in Till , there are also some heart-warming moments as well, reminding you there was more to Till’s life than his end.
Ultimately Till hits you emotionally because of the performance by Deadwyler, which is nothing less than extraordinary. Playing a bereaved mother fighting to maintain her dignity and composure despite so much hate being thrown at her. That performance and Chukwu’s direction make Till a must see. The movie is busting with vibrancy, especially in its customs that are meant to show the beauty of Black communities. You want to see Till, but more importantly you want to feel all of this, and trust me when I say that you will.