till movie

Till: A Heartbreaking and Heroic True Story ★★★★★

4 mins read

Heart-wrenching, Till is the true story of a young and innocent 14-year-old boy, Emmett Till, who was brutally murdered by Missouri townsfolk. Covering what is not an easy subject, the cast portrays every nuance of the film and horrifying but important detail with respect.  

A topic that has become a lesson in history classes, Till revives the horrific murder of a young boy visiting family out of town.  

The audience is first introduced to Emmett and his mother, played by Danielle Deadwyler, sharing a loving and happy moment singing with each other on a car ride.  

The eerie music with the shifting of a low-angle camera shot on the mother to a close-up of her face already indicates a sense of worry that she and the audience share.  

They then enter a mall, again his mother, Mamie, is feeling uneasy and this is where we are shown the first and unfortunately not the last incident of racism towards the family.  

till movie
Image Credit: Universal Pictures

A male shop assistant directs Mrs Till-Molbey, “the shoes are in the basement” without hesitation or regard for her needs. A regular interaction for black Americans in the 1950s.  

The audience is shown the love and care the mother and son have for each other, right up to Emmett boarding the train, the last time Mamie would ever see her child alive.  

After arriving with his family and being put to work in a cotton field (yes, the irony is not missed), Till visits a white-owned shop with his cousins. 

It is here that after trying to innocently complement the woman behind the till, likening her to a beautiful actress, events take a turn for the worse.  

The audience is not shown the murder of the young boy, but the sounds that the viewers are subjected to leave little to the imagination.  

Danielle’s portrayal of Mamie as she greets her son’s body in a coffin being dragged off the train in Chicago is earth-shattering, as is her performance when seeing her son’s body for the first time after being found and returned.  

Emmett Till was not just murdered, but he was destroyed and barely unrecognisable. 

Mamie after that point would use every ounce of her power to take the villains to trial and use the rest of her life to fight for human and civil rights.  

Image Credit: Universal Pictures

Through excellent camera techniques and sensitive acting the cast and crew of Till do not leave any stone unturned in this horrific but important true story.  

Despite the tremendous effort put into this movie and the awards won from the; African-American Film Critics Association, Alliance of Women Film Journalists, Black Film Critics Circle Awards, and a best leading actress nomination from the BAFTAS, Till was still snubbed by the Oscars. Not a surprise. 

Till will stand out in the history of film as an important message not to forget the past but remember and improve from it.  

Featured Image Credit: TILL / Universal Pictures

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First year Journalism and Film Student

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