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The Best of Enemies | STX | April 5, 2019 | Taraji P. Henson, Sam Rockwell

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https://variety.com/2018/film/news/taraji-p-henson-sam-rockwell-drama-best-of-enemies-stx-1202874032/

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STXfilms has acquired domestic distribution rights to Astute Films’ civil rights drama “The Best of Enemies,” starring Taraji P. Henson and Sam Rockwell.

Babou Ceesay (“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”), Anne Heche, Wes Bentley, Bruce McGill, Tony Award-winner John Gallagher Jr., and Nick Searcy (“The Shape of Water”) lead the supporting cast.

 

“Empire” star Henson portrays Ann Atwater, a civil rights activist in Durham, N.C., who battled KKK leader C.P. Ellis (played by Rockwell) for a decade until 1971, when the two agreed to co-chair a two-week community meeting to deal with a court-ordered school desegregation decree. That event changed both of their lives. Ceesay portrays Bill Riddick, who reluctantly persuaded Ellis and Atwater to head the community summit to try and reach a compromise.

 

 

Robin Bissell, an exec producer on “The Hunger Games” and “Seabiscuit,” is making his directorial debut from his own script, inspired by Osha Gray Davidson’s book “The Best of Enemies: Race and Redemption in the New South.” Producers include Danny Strong, Fred Bernstein, Matt Berenson, Bissell, Dominique Telson, and Material Pictures’ Tobey Maguire and Matthew Plouffe. Rick Jackson and Jeremiah Samuels are executive producers.

 

 

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20 hours ago, Slambros said:

I hope this is a film that focuses on the unification of people, because I feel like a film such as that is what many people need at the moment.

They need to focus on having a great, truthful movie. A movie treating the KKK with a Disney-esque approach in order to appease whatever insecure people is going to be bomb terribly and actually have the opposite effect. There is not any movie that is about to unite a country that has been having the same issues for centuries, and the pusillanimous approach to the KKK and other terrorist groups by the media is why the bullshit is still happening to be honest.                                                 

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2 hours ago, PenguinHyphy said:

They need to focus on having a great, truthful movie. A movie treating the KKK with a Disney-esque approach in order to appease whatever insecure people is going to be bomb terribly and actually have the opposite effect. There is not any movie that is about to unite a country that has been having the same issues for centuries, and the pusillanimous approach to the KKK and other terrorist groups by the media is why the bullshit is still happening to be honest.                                                 

 

Why not both, though?

 

Let's condemn hate groups such as the KKK and the bad-apple-portion of Black Lives Matter, and let's also strive for unification at the same time.

 

I don't see how a film that states how healing can happen between the two races is a surefire bomb. Just look at Hidden Figures! In that film, the Caucasian boss of NASA destroys a discriminatory 'for whites only' bathroom sign with a baseball bat, making an effort to alleviate racism in a way that doesn't hurt anyone. And that film made $169,607,287 in the domestic market alone! It even beat Rogue One on its third week to reach #1 at the box office, that's how much of a talk of the town it was!

 

Of course, Hidden Figures doesn't deal with the KKK, a group that should absolutely be portrayed in a negative light. But to downplay the core philosophy that normal people agree with - that differences should be celebrated and that everyone should be treated equally regardless of race - would be a mistake. Love and empathy needs to be the core, because love and empathy is what I feel America needs to be reminded of right now. You talk about yearning for a great, truthful movie, and you'd be hard-pressed to find something more great and more truthful than love and empathy - two things that can stand much, much taller than the KKK if we let it!

 

Just read this excerpt from the WikiPedia page of Ann Atwater, the activist on which this film is based: "She is best known for co-leading a charrette in 1971 to reduce school violence and ensure peaceful school desegregation, which met for ten sessions. She showed that it was possible for whites and blacks, even with contradictory views, to negotiate and collaborate by establishing some common ground.

 

Yes, the film should put the KKK in a negative light. But there are fellow human beings under the white cloth, and to say that the people should be eradicated is wrong. The organization should be eradicated, but the people should be convinced to seek redemption from the childish, outdated, racist antics they're up to. And the promotion of unification should not be halted, because if we scream for such unification loud enough - and maybe I'm being naive, but I absolutely do not care - they will listen to reason, they will consider unification as a beautiful prospect, and they will tear the white cloth from their bodies with vigor. I do not believe in "once a racist, always a racist", not even in these times. I believe that people on both political sides can possibly be liberated from their racism - we just need to keep screaming for the senseless hatred to stop for good, and what better place to do that than the silver screen?

 

Sorry that I ended up ranting but I do feel like the topic is pretty important. If you have a response to any part of my rant, I'd love to here it.

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21 minutes ago, Slambros said:

In that film, the Caucasian boss of NASA destroys a discriminatory 'for whites only' bathroom sign with a baseball bat, making an effort to alleviate racism in a way that doesn't hurt anyone. And that film made $169,607,287 in the domestic market alone! It even beat Rogue One on its third week to reach #1 at the box office, that's how much of a talk of the town it was!

And a few months later Charlottesville still happened. Call me a cynic but I seriously doubt these movies actually have nearly as much effect on people as their creators or you or I would like them to. Predominantly liberal audiences watch scenes like the one you describe and get to feel good about themselves for being on the right side of history and that's about it. Yes, it's good if it gives someone somewhere some inspiration but I'm not inclined to put these movies on a pedestal. They always think more of themselves than they should. 

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On 7/17/2018 at 5:23 PM, Slambros said:

 

Why not both, though?

 

Let's condemn hate groups such as the KKK and the bad-apple-portion of Black Lives Matter, and let's also strive for unification at the same time.

 

I don't see how a film that states how healing can happen between the two races is a surefire bomb. Just look at Hidden Figures! In that film, the Caucasian boss of NASA destroys a discriminatory 'for whites only' bathroom sign with a baseball bat, making an effort to alleviate racism in a way that doesn't hurt anyone. And that film made $169,607,287 in the domestic market alone! It even beat Rogue One on its third week to reach #1 at the box office, that's how much of a talk of the town it was!

 

Of course, Hidden Figures doesn't deal with the KKK, a group that should absolutely be portrayed in a negative light. But to downplay the core philosophy that normal people agree with - that differences should be celebrated and that everyone should be treated equally regardless of race - would be a mistake. Love and empathy needs to be the core, because love and empathy is what I feel America needs to be reminded of right now. You talk about yearning for a great, truthful movie, and you'd be hard-pressed to find something more great and more truthful than love and empathy - two things that can stand much, much taller than the KKK if we let it!

 

Just read this excerpt from the WikiPedia page of Ann Atwater, the activist on which this film is based: "She is best known for co-leading a charrette in 1971 to reduce school violence and ensure peaceful school desegregation, which met for ten sessions. She showed that it was possible for whites and blacks, even with contradictory views, to negotiate and collaborate by establishing some common ground.

 

Yes, the film should put the KKK in a negative light. But there are fellow human beings under the white cloth, and to say that the people should be eradicated is wrong. The organization should be eradicated, but the people should be convinced to seek redemption from the childish, outdated, racist antics they're up to. And the promotion of unification should not be halted, because if we scream for such unification loud enough - and maybe I'm being naive, but I absolutely do not care - they will listen to reason, they will consider unification as a beautiful prospect, and they will tear the white cloth from their bodies with vigor. I do not believe in "once a racist, always a racist", not even in these times. I believe that people on both political sides can possibly be liberated from their racism - we just need to keep screaming for the senseless hatred to stop for good, and what better place to do that than the silver screen?

 

Sorry that I ended up ranting but I do feel like the topic is pretty important. If you have a response to any part of my rant, I'd love to here it.

For starters, why are you using the KKK interchangeably with white people? Why am I or any other non-racist white person supposed to be offended by the KKK being shown as the terrorist organization that they are? No "healing" is surely going to happen with you doing that. We are not speaking about fifteen-year olds on Reddit who leave racist comments. We are speaking about a terrorist group who has been bombing churches, stringing people up and plowing through crowds of people for centuries now. The fact that you somehow just see those people as humans who need to be helped through kindness is egregious at best.  

 

They are violent criminals who need to be thrown in prison because of their crimes and associations as what happens with all other terrorist organizations. They do not need to be taught how to love or whatever other hippie bullshit. The fact they are able to freely operate and have people make excuses for their violent crimes while every other terrorist group is rightfully being fought and having its people imprisoned is why there is never going to be any "healing" in the first place. You will never see a post similar to yours about Al Qaeda, ISIS or any other terrorist group, but the same people who scream about those groups are writing straight up KKK apologist essays. If you do not see the issue there and what that intimates, then you really need to put your dreams about "healing" to the side somewhere. 

 

No, a biopic about a civil rights activist standing up against the KKK and their enforcing school segregation against the federal law oughta not be some politically correct wish fulfillment to appease racist ass white people. Biopics are supposed to attempt to authentically capture the spirit of whatever times in which it is happening. I just visited her Wikipedia page, too, and her personality is clearly outlined. 

 

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According to C.P. Ellis, Ann Atwater had a bold and strong personality. Her voice was deep and powerful and had the ability to energize her audience. These personality traits allowed her to be the effective leader she was. She was not afraid to voice her opinions loudly and proudly. She was also not afraid to tell anyone to “go to hell if she felt like it.[17] She realized that the most effective method at getting people to listen to her was to “holler at them” When she called a meeting she meant business. In one meeting with a councilman, Atwater recalls that when he was not taking her seriously as she was trying to make her points, she would hit him on the head, surprising him so much that he would listen to her afterwards. In other situations like city council meetings, Atwater would express her opinions but the councilmen would not want to listen to a black women talk, so they would turn their chairs away from her. In response she would turn those chairs back around herself so they would face her. Her bold actions surprised many of the councilmen to the point that they had to listen to her. Some people may not have liked how demanding and outspoken she was, but those qualities enabled her to be the successful activist she was.[18]

Suggesting that a movie about her needs to be conciliatory and very light like Driving Miss Daisy, The Help or Hidden Figures to assuage whoever and their guilt despite that being out of her character is reprehensible. There is a time for that, but  that is not suitable for a movie about someone facing off against the KKK.

 

At the end of the day, movies are not about to shape the way how anyone sees reality because most people rightfully view them as fictionalized entertainment. Posts such as yours are going to have an impact, however, and you might want to fully assess things before writing KKK apologist essays. You sound extremely young, but I figured that I will give a reasoned response because most other people are not. 

 

 

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6 hours ago, PenguinHyphy said:

For starters, why are you using the KKK interchangeably with white people? Why am I or any other non-racist white person supposed to be offended by the KKK being shown as the terrorist organization that they are? No "healing" is surely going to happen with you doing that. We are not speaking about fifteen-year olds on Reddit who leave racist comments. We are speaking about a terrorist group who has been bombing churches, stringing people up and plowing through crowds of people for centuries now. The fact that you somehow just see those people as humans who need to be helped through kindness is egregious at best.  

 

They are violent criminals who need to be thrown in prison because of their crimes and associations as what happens with all other terrorist organizations. They do not need to be taught how to love or whatever other hippie bullshit. The fact they are able to freely operate and have people make excuses for their violent crimes while every other terrorist group is rightfully being fought and having its people imprisoned is why there is never going to be any "healing" in the first place. You will never see a post similar to yours about Al Qaeda, ISIS or any other terrorist group, but the same people who scream about those groups are writing straight up KKK apologist essays. If you do not see the issue there and what that intimates, then you really need to put your dreams about "healing" to the side somewhere. 

 

No, a biopic about a civil rights activist standing up against the KKK and their enforcing school segregation against the federal law oughta not be some politically correct wish fulfillment to appease racist ass white people. Biopics are supposed to attempt to authentically capture the spirit of whatever times in which it is happening. I just visited her Wikipedia page, too, and her personality is clearly outlined. 

 

Suggesting that a movie about her needs to be conciliatory and very light like Driving Miss Daisy, The Help or Hidden Figures to assuage whoever and their guilt despite that being out of her character is reprehensible. There is a time for that, but  that is not suitable for a movie about someone facing off against the KKK.

 

At the end of the day, movies are not about to shape the way how anyone sees reality because most people rightfully view them as fictionalized entertainment. Posts such as yours are going to have an impact, however, and you might want to fully assess things before writing KKK apologist essays. You sound extremely young, but I figured that I will give a reasoned response because most other people are not. 

 

 

 

I see your points and agree with you. I do want people to begin to understand what their actions are, but I know that can be naive. I definitely believe in the balance between forgiveness and justice, and if someone does something that requires a jail time punishment, I would want them to have that jail time punishment. I still believe that anyone can change and anyone can get out of bad lifestyles, but now I understand what you're talking about. I should have read the WikiPedia page more thoroughly. But thank you for expressing your point of view! I think I've learned a thing or two about the situation at hand! We need both unification of the people and appropriate justice for the sins of the white-hooded fools. Racism is wrong no matter who's expressing it, and we need to shine a light on that. Thank you for allowing me to be able to understand!

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