This film is two hours and fifteen minutes. There is a slow build of the story. However, there is action that picks up throughout the film.
Pappy, played by Jonathan Banks, is a cold, manipulative and weak racist. Jonathan plays the role brilliantly and diligently. Jason Mitchell is extraordinary. He plays Ronsel, a soldier who is the son of Hap and Florence Jackson. He fights for his country and returns to the biggest battle of his life: combating racism in Mississippi. Mary J. Blige plays Florence Jackson, a skilled and meek wife and mother. Mary plays the role with grace and strength. Rob Morgan is incredible as Hap Jackson. There is a stillness in his performance that speaks volumes. Jason Clarke is great as Henry McAllan. While he wants to take care of his family and be a good man, he has loyalty to his Pappy that doesn’t make this possible. Carey Mulligan is absolutely stunning as Laura McAllan, Henry’s wife. There is a grit in her performance. Garrett Hedlund shines as Jamie, a reckless yet giving man who is the brother to Henry and son of Pappy. The bond between Jamie and Ronsel is beautiful. Billy Hopkins and Ashley Ingram did terrific work with the casting.
There is beautiful scenery. Every time something dramatic happened it rained. The details are crisp, helmed by the direction of Dee Rees. This story is heartbreaking and triumphant and captured in the words by Dee Rees and Virgil Williams based on the novel by Hillary Jordan. The dynamic between the families is fascinating because the McAllan family needed the Jackson family despite the racial tension brewing.
I am fascinated to see how movies will continue to be distributed. Releasing this film on Netflix is outstanding.