“Antebellum” Is The Rare Film That Entertains, Informs, And Makes You Think

Janelle Monáe stars as Eden who at the start of the new film “Antebellum” is brought back to a Southern Plantation against her will by Union Soldiers. The consequences of her escape attempt are brutally taken out against two others as the rest of the plantation looks on in submissive silence.

Weeks later more slaves arrive and are given the rules by the brutal Overseer who demands silence and utter obedience at all times.

The slaves are made to work the fields and serve the plantation including the women being assigned to whichever soldier desires them.

Their plight grabs you from the start in its brutality as they have no rights, live in fear daily, and are subject to whatever whims those in charge desire and they are required to obey and suffer in silence.

One night after the General falls asleep after having his way with her; Eden awakens to a different reality. One set in the modern day where she is a wife, mother, and very successful author and activist. The film follows her life in the modern world before springing the twist which makes doing an in-depth review difficult without spoiling things. While I was able to predict the twist coming; it was still effective and chilling in how it was carried out.

The film does get a bit lax in the final act as it relies on too many Hollywood clichés which while highly entertaining for me undermined the messages of the film and the situation.

Gerard Bush and Christopher Rend both wrote and directed the film and there are some powerful and highly gripping moments to the film but it grabs you from the start and is compelling and deeply disturbing.

The cast is very strong and the film is unforgettable. My biggest issue with the film was the final act as I alluded to prior. The film tries to tie things up a bit too neatly yet fails to adequately explain key aspects of the story. The audience is given some information and forced to fill in the gaps for themselves which in many ways makes the film even more disturbing.

In the time of deep division in our country it is very upsetting to see how little has changed for many who do not see equality and justice applied equally and still live day to day with fear and uncertainty.

“Antebellum” is the rare film that entertains, informs, and makes you think and will remain with you after the movie ends.

4 stars out of 5