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The Best of Enemies (2019)

The Best of Enemies (2019)

Taraji P. HensonSam RockwellBabou CeesayAnne Heche
Robin Bissell


The Best of Enemies (2019) is a English movie. Robin Bissell has directed this movie. Taraji P. Henson,Sam Rockwell,Babou Ceesay,Anne Heche are the starring of this movie. It was released in 2019. The Best of Enemies (2019) is considered one of the best Biography,Drama,History movie in India and around the world.

Civil rights activist Ann Atwater faces off against C.P. Ellis, Exalted Cyclops of the Ku Klux Klan, in 1971 Durham, North Carolina over the issue of school integration.

The Best of Enemies (2019) Reviews

  • a feel good look at a moment in history


    Greetings again from the darkness. It's easy to complain (and many do) about how Hollywood usually explores racism. Sometimes the stories seem a bit over-simplistic, as with THE HELP, GREEN BOOK, and HIDDEN FIGURES; however, rather than criticize, perhaps we should be thankful for any effort to prod. Often getting the conversation started is the best first step. That's really the message from Robin Bissell's directorial debut of a script he adapted from Osha Gray Davidson's 1996 book "The Best of Enemies: Race and Redemption in the New South". Mr. Bissell has previously been Executive Producer on THE HUNGER GAMES and SEABISCUIT, and Mr. Davidson's book was previously adapted for a stage production. Based on a true story that took place in 1971 Durham, North Carolina, the film portrays the remarkable events that led to the integration of public schools and a stranger-than-fiction friendship. Taraji P Henson stars as Ann Atwater, an African-American activist and community organizer, while Sam Rockwell co-stars as Claiborne "CP" Ellis, the Exalted Cyclops (basically the Chapter President) of the Ku Klux Klan. It seems the previous stranger-than-fiction description is aptly applied here when an aggressive black woman known as "Roughhouse Annie" can effectively sway the long ingrained beliefs of a KKK leader, and forge a friendship that would last 3 decades. A school fire that partially gutted the elementary school attended by the black children in the community was the proverbial spark that kicked off the chain of events. When the white folks refused to share their school, the black children were forced to hold classes in the areas least affected by the fire ... while demolition and renovation was being carried out. This led to the NAACP getting involved, which resulted in a judge ordering a "Charrette" - a blend of a committee and a civic debate - to determine how the community would move forward. Bill Riddick (Babou Ceesay, FREE FIRE, 2016) was charged with organizing the Charrette, and he named Ms. Alexander and Mr. Ellis as co-chairs. Keep in mind this was 17 years after Brown vs. Board of Education ruled in favor of school desegregation, but many pockets of the south were slow to come around. The story structure offers synchronicity between the lives of Alexander and Ellis, as they each struggle with poverty and family challenges. It's just one of the ways of trying to show they were more alike than different, and much more of the time is devoted to how the transition slowly occurs for Ellis. Of course, even though each side dislikes the other, it's Ellis whose eyes must be opened as he clings to the only way of life he's known. Because of this, Mr. Rockwell has the meatier role, but it's Ms. Henson (and her fat suit) who draws the most laughs and nods of approval from the audience. As you would expect, it's a strutting Mr. Rockwell and boisterous Ms. Henson that dominate the film, however, some tremendous actors fill the supporting roles: Wes Bentley (as a Confederate soldier hat-wearing Klansman), Anne Heche (as Ellis' wife), Nick Searcy, Bruce McGill, John Gallagher Jr, and Caitlin Mehner. The film is a most entertaining (though a bit lightweight) look at an historic chain of events, and it's right up there with a black cop infiltrating the Klan in Spike Lee's 2018 film BLACKkKlansman for believe-it-or-not points. In 1980, Studs Terkel conducted an interview with Mr. Ellis, and it's worth a read to gain a bit more insight into a man that truly changed his evil ways. The ending of this film leans heavily on the "feel-good" and "can't we all just get along" approach, and maybe that's not such a bad thing. The end credit sequence features some tremendous clips of the real Ms. Alexander (who died in 2016) and Mr. Ellis (who died in 2005), making it a bit easier to understand how the two opposites connected for the greater good.

  • Clunky at times but ultimately affecting


    A solid supporting cast and fantastic set and costume design help create a town that feels utterly authentic to the time and place. Predictability and issues with pacing and balance are swept aside by an incredible true story bolstered by strong performances from Sam Rockwell and Taraji P. Henson. It's a little graceless and heavy handed in its delivery at certain points but the final product is a genuine, relevant and touching film.

  • Watching how two people can learn to understand and tolerate each other.


    I will attempt not to have spoilers- but beware- I will be specific. I thought it would be hard to find sympathy for the head of a local group of the Klu Klux Klan, and yet, this film pulled it off. Not because I believe in beliefs and tactics of the KKK (as a liberal former Catholic woman with Jewish friends- oh, no, indeed). Rather because I gained an understanding of the mindset of poor working men in the South for whom seeing the true enemy (the powers in the community (white, male power brokers)) would have been dangerous. The acting in this film was superb with special kudos to Taraji P. Henson who in her wordless scenes expresses the reality of her character's history and the hardships she endures for a cause bigger than herself. I know this sounds like the film is didactic- but it isn't. It is a mini-history lession and one that I thoroughly enjoyed.

  • Two Thumbs Up


    Incredible movie. If you consider yourself an American, this is a must see. There is so much rich history in the American culture that has not been part of main stream media until now. The script forces you to find empathy for each of the main characters, no matter what your background. This was a challenging role for Taraji, whereas the role of Ann Atwater could have been easily type cast for Octavia Spencer. Some of the bits that Sam Rockwell brought to the role of CP Ellis were almost comical, but well in-character. Unlike the Green Book which had several awesome moments, this movie was suspenseful and interesting from start to finish. I am looking forward to the next work directed by Robin Bissell.

  • Worth your time


    I actually had friends puzzled that I wanted to see this, because they told me it was a movie just for black people. It's worth seeing just to understand exactly how dumb that kind of comment is. The performances are outstanding. I love "based on true events" films anyway, and understand their limitations, so maybe I"m biased, but I think this is an important film..The sets captured that small town feel in the past south perfectly. Is it heavy handed at times? Sure, but it really shows how both characters changed their minds. I"m sorry it's not doing better. I missed seeing it last weekend and this weekend there were only two showings of it at my theater and expect it to be gone next week.


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