I almost didn’t watch Antebellum. The trailer looked interesting, but when it came out many of the reviews spoke of how confusing it was and how it didn’t make sense. Nevertheless, I watched it anyway, and I am confused as to how they could be so confused.
The film consists of three acts, exactly as Aristotle said it should be. This may be a SPOILER, but the first act is set in the present, the second act is a flashback, and the third act is again set in the present. Any reviewers that were confused by this film are either incredibly idiotic or deeply racist on levels they may have yet to come to grips with.
The film does touch on some very racist themes, and as a white man, some of them were difficult to watch. Nevertheless, I have family members who were angry about the removal of the Confederate statues that were erected during the Jim Crow era, and I have come to understand how challenging it can be for white people to empathize with what black people have to go through in modern-day America. However, I pray that more white people in America, including my family members, watch this film and realize, however fictional it may be, how true it really is.
I have lived with black men and was married to a black woman, and although I will never fully understand the plight of their people, I have gained a few ounces of empathy. Although most white people, myself included, do not have to endure racism on a daily basis, that is not the case for people with darker skin tones than mine. Antebellum stands as an allegory for the plight of the black person in America today.
Even if Antebellum does not win the best picture of the year, which I currently think it could, I hope as many people watch it as possible. I don’t understand how my family members, especially those who claim to be “new creatures in Christ”, find pride in the Confederate movement against America, but I hope every white person who doesn’t still retain allegiance to the Confederate flag finds the courage to watch this film. Those who do still have pride in Dixie may not be emotionally prepared for this film, but I hope that enough white people have the courage to watch it, learn from it, and let it contribute to our evolution as a species.
As for the performances, Janelle Monae does an incredible job of carrying the emotional weight of the film. Granted, I wouldn’t classify this as a horror film, and the trailer was a bit misleading. Nevertheless, this is a film for our age and I hope more people have the courage to watch it.