By Will Barber Taylor
In 1955, a 64 year-old Mississippi preacher Moses Wright tries to keep two racist killers from abducting his 14 year-old nephew, Emmett Till. Based on a true story.
The murder of 14 year old Emmett Till was one of the most brutal acts of violence to ever hit 1950s Mississippi. It was one of the potent moments that defined the Civil Rights movement and helped spur more African Americans to join the fight to end segregation and other civil inequalities and to try and make America a better nation. This film is particularly potent at the moment with last year’s white supremacist marches in Charlottesville and the presidency of Donald Trump causing further frictions to arise to threaten the very progress that has been made in America since Emmett Till’s horrific death.
Director Kevin Wilson Jr goes into great detail to ensure that the film feels authentic. His depiction of the poverty that Moses Wright lives in is gritty and depressing in its accuracy. Wilson’s intimate directorial style ensures that this horrific story is brought to life in the most chilling way possible. Wilson engenders a sense of foreboding throughout the film and his realisation of this ensures that the film is both horrifying but also heartfelt in its approach to Till’s brutal murder.
L.B. Williams’ performance as Moses Wright is astonishingly good. Williams captures the horror at the situation he finds himself in perfectly and his anger and fear shine throughout the main body of the film. William also wonderfully demonstrates the affection Wright had for his nephew and shows their relationship as one of a truly loving uncle wanting to protect his young nephew. Williams gives his heart and soul to films and ensures that we never forget about the truly horrific conditions of African Americans in 50s America or Emmett Till’s brutal and senseless murder.
My Nephew Emmett is a necessary film because as it is a part of living history, it helps to remind us that within the lifetime of thousands of Americans a large part of the population was treated as if they were animals and not given the respect and dignity they deserved. In a divisive and divided America, My Nephew Emmett sends a clear message; never again can this be allowed to happen.