Rated: R for language, sexual content and drug use. Reviewed by: Jim Release date: October 24, 2014 Released by: Roadside Attractions
Tyro scripter/helmer Justin Simien has made a pretty ingenious, challenging, and trenchant film tackling race relations in the Obama era.
Dear White People convinces in its nimble notions and derisive wit that for many may recall Spike Lee's School Daze, even if the inflated screenplay and filmmaking is hardly slick and a bit discouraging. Whereas John Singleton didn't stay on this subject after some notable turns in Rosewood and Higher Learning, lured into the studio system (remember the Shaft remake and Four Brothers), Simien works well off of deceit and pretense from an Ivy League university setting.
Aggressive black student Samantha White (Tessa Thompson) uses the campus airwaves starting with the titular salutation. Brandon Bell is Samantha's ex-boyfriend, more straight-laced and in a relationship with a white girl. Samantha's chief competitor on the campus political scene is a shrewd student (Teyonah Parris) who operates on a different mindset about setting and accomplishing goals. Some comic relief is offered by Tyler James Williams as fierce outsider spectator Lionel with quite the Afro.
Simien is decisive among students of both races as well as green reporters and vainglorious administrators perhaps like Dennis Haysbert's Dean Fairbanks in lampooning many relevant issues with honesty and acrid intelligence in an arguably unskilled, yet creatively cognizant Dear White People.
|Dear White People||B+||B+|