Okay, so you get the gist. I loved “The Best of Enemies, which I saw today in a local theater outside of my usual purview.
Not only did I love it and everything about it, including acting, directing and music, but also I experienced it as profoundly moving.
I am white; let’s get that straight at the outset. So I suppose with the flutter that has existed about the allegedly self-congratulatory theme of “Green Book” (a point of view with which I totally disagree), this film is going to hit the charts as something thin on substance and fat on self-flattery.
I want to say right away that I’m sick of the film and political correctness police telling me or anyone else how to feel about a film. Not only do they say how to feel or how to think but they block your emotional arteries so you can’t simmer with the ideas and emotions triggered in the experience.
A charrette, I found out tonight, is defined as follows: a meeting in which all stakeholders in a project attempt to resolve conflicts and map solutions. It’s pretty radical, in that it was radical for then and it would be radical—if necessary—for now.
The film takes place in the early 70’s in North Carolina where communication between black people and white people is all but impossible. Sam Rockwell is the Ku Klux Clan leader in the town where some issues of race come to a head. I don’t want to spoil this for you so I’ll leave the rest to your movie going outing.
The unlikely meeting of minds and hearts that we see in the film, could even happen today, if we don’t stay manipulated by people in power who want to see us fighting all the time. See the movie: you will see this is possible. Corny and sappy and sentimental or not, it is true. We need to start to see that not only is our taste manipulated but also we are encouraged by media and politicians to stay on the media high that an addiction to fighting maintains. For the first time in many moons I felt (I really felt it) tonight that listening to the other sides—having to sit at dining tables with them, having to see them as human—might be transforming.
I admit it: I was immersed in the performance of Sam Rockwell. But I was equally enthralled by the performance of Teraji P Henson. If it makes me a racist to mention him first, what else is new? Of course I’m racist: man, I’m white in America, how else could it be?
I have my own affiliations with that about which I’m writing.. One involves having been intimidated and traumatized (yes, even moi) by a level brutality of verbal and emotional assault centering on insult and invalidation.
I am not in a freedom movement or claiming status as a victim. But I can afford, I’m coming to think, feeling assertive about my right to feel my own feelings and think my own thoughts.
One of the crucial lessons we need on bullying in general is: Even if the person intimidating you or insulting the s—t out of you, yells louder or even sounds smarter, it doesn’t mean he/she/they are right.
We live in a land that is so divided. And beyond that there is really more pressure than we may realize to agree with the liberal or the conservative or the black or the white caucus. Sometimes we lose ourselves; we lose our voices and we lose our right to vote, not only for an elected official, but also for our taste in a film and the thoughts that can come from that. There is healing to be had here.
See the movie, and let me know what you think and how you feel about it. And try, as hard as you can, not to let the voices all around you dictate to you what the experience should be.