Movie Review: The Best of Enemies

All screenwriters learn early on that one of the best ideas for a good story is that when a main character transitions into something much better by the end of the screenplay. The new movie “The Best of Enemies” has one of the best transitions of a character that I have seen in a movie in a very long time about the leader of the Klu Klux Klan in North Carolina in 1971 who slowly over the course of this story, becomes a human being again.

This is a true story of C.P. Ellis, played by Sam Rockwell and Ann Atwater played by the prolific Traji P. Henson, who has made many movies in the last few years. The story introduces a word that most people have probably never heard before, “Charrette”, which is a special type of meeting where an agreement can be made within a large group of people by breaking them up into smaller groups. The Charrette was called in this story due to a fire in an all black elementary school and several decisions had to be made to deal with all the students that no longer had a school to go to. Within this story it was not made 100% clear that it was the Klan that started this fire.

Over the course of this film, through arguments and revelations during the many meetings and random acts of kindness by Ann Atwater who helps Ellis down syndrome child in a local hospital, Ellis slowly starts to wake up from his coma of hatred and stupidity that was passed down to him for generations. What this movie does as well as Spike Lee’s recent BlacKkKlansman, is that it shows the disgusting hatred and stupidity of all the lowlife members of the local Klan group that try to terrorize the members of the Charrette into voting their way. All movies like this, with the constant use of the “N” word are always hard to watch for anyone on the outside looking into this world of sickness. One can try and fail to understand the trait in so many people where they make themselves feel better about their lot in life, by trashing the life and livelihood of someone else. There is nothing gained from any life dedicated to something like this, and nothing but downside will follow.

Like just about everybody, its hard to not be impressed by the recent and prolific acting of Traji P. Henson, who has been great in so many movies the last few years. Unfortunately the critics are giving this movie ratings of only 50%, much to my surprise, and this will probably prevent her from receiving another Academy Award nomination. My rating for this movie is a solid 80% and I recommend this very good movie about the realities of bigotry in this country.

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