REVIEW: ‘Till’ tells a mother’s grief turned into advocacy


Orion Pictures

Danielle Deadwyler, left, looks endearingly at Jalyn Hall, right.

Hawa Osman

“Till” (2022), directed and written by Chinonye Chukwu, is a film not just about the lynching of Emmett Till but how his mother and community didn’t let his death be in vain.

There have been conversations claiming that this was just another Black trauma film, but the tension, script, camera work and emotional turmoil created by the actors make it a notable film in Black cinema. It’s a difficult film to endure, but that’s the message Chukwu wanted to convey. This film is not supposed to make you comfortable.

The cinematography was simple but beautifully shot, and one thing that stuck out to me was the warm color palette throughout the film, despite the dark subject. The film uses a very tense score that was foreboding at times, and it didn’t stray away from using zoom-ins to add to the distress, anxiety and agony of the characters. I got goosebumps every time, especially with Mamie’s—Till’s mother—grieving facial expressions, and I think this shows how Chukwu knew what she was doing and that every direction had a purpose.

During the film, I was tense and my heart was breaking because I walked into the theater knowing what Till’s (Jalyn Hall) fate would be, but I didn’t know the lasting impact his mother Mamie Till-Mobley’s (Danielle Deadwyler) advocacy had on the nation. That’s just many of the things this film sheds light on; the film reveals that Till was more than a victim of lynching and that a mother’s love lasts forever.

This movie was not meant to simply be entertaining; it may have lighthearted moments like Till laughing with his cousins, but it’s quickly followed by tense scenes of conflict with said cousins. The film focuses on not only Till’s story but also the story of his mother and the many other Black Americans who fought for his justice. The same racism that led to Till’s death in 1955 continues to affect Black Americans today in 2022. This story and film deserve your attention.

“Till” by Chinonye Chukwu releases October 14th.