Afrobella Film Review — Django Unchained

Let me begin this review with something of a disclaimer – I am a Quentin Tarantino fan. I’ve seen Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction, True Romance and both parts of Kill Bill, From Dusk Till Dawn and Jackie Brown and Death Proof and Ingloruious Basterds. I’ve seen them all, many of them multiple times. So when I went to a screening of Django Unchained, AKA Tarantino tackles slavery, I didn’t go into it expecting anything less than a Quentin Tarantino film.

So the advanced outrage to Django Unchained is somewhat amusing to me. Why are people turning to a Tarantino film, expecting any kind of accurate representation of history? Or sensitivity? This reminds me of when people were mad at Chris Rock because Good Hair didn’t tackle the subject of black hair in the way they hoped it would. Consider the source and manage your expectations accordingly. Always.

Django Unchained is a fantasy. It is ridiculous and over the top. It’s frequently cartoonish in its violence and imagery. It is not for the faint of heart. If I had to summarize Django Unchained in four words, I’d say – Bloody. Brash. Unmistakably Tarantino. A petition against it is pointless, and Spike Lee refusing to see it won’t do anything to slow down what I see as inevitable, big success for this movie on Christmas Day. I know this movie is gonna make a whole lot of people mad – understandably so. I saw it five days ago and I’m still not sure what-all to make or say about it. But here goes.

Django Unchained is a genre mashup that would best be described as a blaxploitation/spaghetti western/revenge movie. It’s surprisingly sharp and funny and made me laugh out loud unexpectedly, more than once. And there were quite a few scenes that hurt to watch, made me uncomfortable, and caused me to look away from the screen due to my own visceral reaction to what was happening. It’s entertaining and problematic and difficult and gory. If you can’t do bloody movies, skip Django Unchained. When people die in this movie, the blood and guts spurt. If you’ve seen the trailer, you’ve got an idea. Blood sprays the cotton. Blood drips down the walls. There is quite a bit of blood in this movie.

I used to want to be a film critic. I studied film criticism in college and came close to declaring that as my major. And the more I read film reviews, and had to study critics, the more I hated them. If you want to thoroughly enjoy and be surprised by Django Unchained, don’t read the reviews and don’t read any interviews. Because there are some major spoilers out there, and when I watched the movie I found myself getting annoyed that I knew as much about it as I did. So there won’t be any spoilers in this review. I don’t want to ruin the experience for anyone and I look forward to hearing your opinion once you’ve seen it.

Here’s what I will say – I think Django Unchained is going to be more popular than its detractors want it to be. I’ve been contacted by a few folks mentioning petitions against it, citing Quentin Tarantino’s gratuitous use of the N word through the years, and the overabundance of that word in this film in particular. I never use that word in real life, I have very strong feelings about it (despite having friends and family who feel otherwise). I’m not a fan of the prolific, popular, casual use of that problematic word. But I hope that the constant repetition of the word in Django sparks a reaction in those who see the film. Because THAT is what it was for our ancestors. A slur. A curse. A word meant to belittle and diminish. You see and feel that in this movie. In this great interview with Henry Louis Gates Jr, on The Root, Tarantino reveals that was his intention – “I don’t want it to be easy to digest. I want it to be a big, gigantic boulder, a jagged pill and you have no water.” That came across loud and clear. 

As for the cast — Jamie Foxx is intense and excellent as Django. Kerry Washington is beautiful and you feel for her as Broomhilda. Some of her scenes were the most difficult for me to watch. Christoph Waltz is a true acting pro and he’s great as Dr. King Schultz (yes we see what you did there, Quentin Tarantino). Leonardo DiCaprio is great in just about everything he does, right? He’s a truly memorable and over the top villain here. And Samuel L. Jackson plays one of the most loathsome villains I’ve seen on film in a long time. I’d become so accustomed to rooting for Sam Jackson on screen. In Django Unchained, he made me hate him. There were some truly standout supporting actors as well – the performance by Ato Essandoh as D’Artignan was so raw and painful. And Miriam F. Glover as Betina gave a solid performance as well. My ONE issue with a performance in the film, is the director. Quentin Tarantino as a personality, is annoying. And he always puts himself in his own movies. And because Tarantino has talked and talked and talked and TALKED so much about this movie, from the moment he appeared on screen, I knew what to expect and I knew what would happen and I can only blame myself for reading more in advance about the movie. ARGH.

Something’s gotta be said about the reaction of the audience. A whole other essay could be written about the audience’s response to this film, in terms of the violence, the language, the male nudity on screen. It was truly fascinating not just to find myself laughing or emotional, but to see what the rest of the audience laughed at. Or gasped at. Or hooted, hollered and cheered for. The reaction to Django Unchained from audiences and the media…all of it has been really interesting to watch.

After I tweeted about having seen the movie, I was inundated with questions from folks on Twitter. What do you think? How many stars would you give it? Two thumbs up? I still don’t totally know what I think, but I know I’d see it again. I can’t assign it a number of stars. but I’d lean towards a solid 4 out of 5 if I had to use that kind of ranking. I would give it two thumbs up, because it really was entertaining even though it’s problematic and I look forward to reading more nuanced, informed criticism about it. Django Unchained was a whole lot of things. It’s the kind of movie made for college students who are studying film, made for movie geeks. I would have loved studying this in film school — there’s a lot to unpack and analyze and write about. Django Unchained is super long but it’s never boring. It depicts a real time in our history but draws the outline of slavery in the most two dimensional way. Tarantino’s slave owners are bumbling, stupid, slapsticky and buffoonish, while being desperate to be seen as cunning, clever and important. They are comic relief characters but the laughter always brims with violence and menace. Somehow the film managed to be both more and less than I expected.  But still, there’s a lot of meat on these bones. I think Django Unchained is going to be one of those films that lingers for a long time, in the media and in the academic world.

I already know Django Unchained will be successful at the box office this week. But I have some hopes attached to the film. I hope that it provokes discussion and dialogue, not just knee jerk reactions. I hope it opens the floodgates for the legions of black directors who have been waiting to tell our stories – how many times do we need to hear about directors, producers and visionaries who have been wanting to make a film about **insert African American historical figure with compelling, cinema worthy life story here** but the studio won’t fund their projects? I hope Django Unchained reminds some studio heads that audiences of all colors do want to see these stories, and not just in February. I hope Django Unchained inspires the audience to leave the theater and examine the real history of our people, because there’s no film that could capture the true scope of the pain and horror that was endured.

I hope I haven’t set my hopes too high.

After you’ve seen the movie, if you’re like me you’ll want to read about it for a week straight. Here’s some good reading about Django Unchained – best read after you’ve seen it. It hits theaters on Christmas Day.

The Root interview with Tarantino, part 1 and part 2

The Playboy interview with Tarantino.

Rich Juzwiak for Gawker.

Will Leitch for Deadspin.

The Atlantic.

The AV Club.

Esquire.

Shadow and Act’s two reviews – one positive, one negative.

Have you seen Django Unchained yet? I’m really curious to hear your opinion. Please let me know your thoughts in the comments!

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Comments

  1. Great review,love your ability to be open minded and willing to learn.

  2. Great review, you would have made a wonderful film critic. However, I just can’t watch Tarantino’s movies, I’m one of the rare people in America who just doesn’t find violence of any kind entertaining. I respect Tarantino as a filmmaker, and I want to see this film, but I’m way too sensitive and I know it would bother me for days on end. I’ve seen a couple of his films, and each time, I couldn’t handle it. Reading actual slave narratives will be enough for me.

    But I hope it does well, it’s high time people in America stop glossing over slavery as something that happened a long time ago, and people of all racial groups, especially the new wave of immigrant population needs to start to understand the grim horror that slavery was, and how it has shaped this country and ultimately, how it will affect them. How it was not ‘just something that happened to Black people’, but it is this country’s legacy, along with the slaughter of Native people, something that will never fade away.

    • Interesting comment, I went to see the movie and I had to walk out. When Leo was orchestrating a slave fight to the death I got extremely light headed and had to leave the theater. I can deal with the extreme blood, but the hatred and grittiness of the scene overwhelmed me. Definitely don’t see it if you’re in the same boat.

  3. The use of the word Nigga and Nigger in this movie was over the top and uncomfortable. And to see black people laugh at the racist jokes was even more disturbing. Samuel L Jackson was a true sellout in this movie, and it seems as if Tarantino only promoted Jaime Foxx as the lead character to catch the attention of a black audience. Dr. King (Christoph Waltz) had the best performance but it was sloppily cut short, so that Jaime Foxx could get more shine. This movie was too long, over the top, all over the place and had too much gore (that looked very fake)…

    I was disappointed in the film. GREAT REVIEW

  4. Wow! Your review of this movie was so on point! There was one part of the movie that I absolutely could not watch, not knowing it would be revisited later on in the film. I knew that this movie was going to be controversial because it is his work. Surprisingly, I wasn’t offended. I have so many thoughts about it that I need to see the movie again. I did think it was entertaining. My husband on the other hand was appalled and very upset. I let him have his opinion without judgement and I’ll keep mine. It’s definitely a tough pill to swallow.

  5. You used to want to be a film critic? You sound like you professionally are!

    Outstanding and fair review!

  6. Just saw the movie in H-Town at Studio 30 with my partner and LOVED it. Sad that the crowd didn’t know Tarantions work, sorry…. but you could tell buy the covered faces and the slack jaws every time the word NIGGER was used. I’m not sure what people are told but that is what we black people were called as slave and even after????? Jackie Brow… Pulp Fiction …HelloN-Word ever movie. Oh well, I’m sure Tyler Perry will help us all heel very soon feel better soon.

  7. I saw it today, followed by a screening of Les Miserables. Clearly a pretty depressing day in cinema for me. Anyway, I thought it was fantastic, quite thought provoking and actually a pretty important film. I think it’s actually necessary to show the atrocities that took place during this time under the veneer of southern civility.

    The uncomfortability the scenes of the dog attack evoke in us, and some of the other atrocities in the film, serve two purposes, both of them valid. It rubs our collective noses in the evil that was slavery and forces us to view it close up, very personal and visceral. This hasn’t been done before to my knowledge in cinema, and seeing it is shocking, as it should be. It is very important for people to understand how evil that institution was, and the best way to do this is to actually show it…not to discuss it in some roundabout way in a classroom or through a book, but to experience the true horror of the institution.

    It also acts as a device to move the story forward. Django isn’t righting the collective wrongs of slavery when he takes his vengeance. For him the atrocities of slavery were very personal, as they were to each slave, and so seeing these atrocities connects us to him int hat we are just as angry and horrified by what occurs as he is. So the atrocities serve to make US angry as well, and when he takes his vengeance, we cheer him on.

    –jeremy

  8. I saw the move. Leonardo DiCaprio and Samuel L. Jackson did amazing jobs. Jamie was good, not as convincing as Ray, but good none the less. Kerry’s role was small and her beauty is amazing. For those complaining about the word “Nigger” being used too much, I disagree. What do you think black people were referred to as back then? It definately was not “Sir” or “Madame”. At the end, the theater errupted in a round of applause. That does not happen often.

  9. Jeremy, well said.

  10. I haven’t seen it, but I plan to. The thing that strikes me the most is about your post is what you wrote regarding managing expectations. It’s Tarantino and I expect this to be as over the top as Inglorious Bastards or Kill Bill because that’s the genre he writes in. I’ve shied away from too many reviews/interviews because I just don’t have the energy for the many arguments.

    Sadly I think if there were more films out there with people of color that didn’t talk about slavery or civil rights people might be able to handle movies like Django a little easier. Perhaps not. Either way I plan to see this.

  11. I loved this post! I, too, enjoy reading film reviews and listening to film critics (Much more than watching the movies, itself. Weird, I know. I’m more of a TV person.) so for you to have been one-foot-in-the-door ready to be a film criticism major is awe-inspiring.

    I heard the hype regarding this movie – good and bad. Usually, when I know I am about to watch a movie I don’t read the reviews. Like, I stay clear away from them. I went into the theater with a clear mind free from other folks opinion.

    I truly enjoyed this movie. Definitely a dark comedy. There were some moments that were gruesome and whoa but I’m like, I’m pretty sure it was ‘gruesome and whoa’ back in those days, too. The actor that gained a whole new respect from me was Samuel L. Jackson. He was riveting. Kerry said a lot without saying a lot; her words spoke through her emotions. Leo was Leo – great actor. Jamie did good but his character was talking like he was in present day. Granted, I know Django was one of the smarter slaves but still. Anytime he talked I thought I was back in 2012 instead of 1868. Also, another WTF moment for me was a Rick Ross RAP song blaring through the screen while Django was riding through the desert. I definitely laughed out loud during that part.

    All in all, I would watch this movie again.

  12. I agree with Mimi in that I do not feel like “nigger” was used excessively. From the reviews I was expecting to be tired of hearing it by the end of the movie, kind of how I felt about curse words after seeing Menace to Society. The shoot out at the house was a bit unrealistic, exessive and long; however, I had to remind myself that this was a Quentin Tarantino film and that’s what he does.

    What was really disturbing and I was completely unprepared for was the Mandingo fighting scene and the scene where the man was tired of fighting….TOTALLY unprepared. I had to look away because I was not sure just how much of the scene they were going to show. I think what caught me off guard about those scenes was that I don’t recall ever seeing or reading about this sort of thing in any other movies or books about slavery. I could never imagine something like this happening prior to this movie but I believe it did. And for me it also had deeper meaning, in that I can see how this behavior still manifests in our society.

    • The Mandingo fighting was fake and Tarantino’s ode to the B-movie of the the same name:
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mandingo_%28film%29

      Like Inglorious Basterds, Tarantino rewrote history to his liking. (We all know Hitler wasn’t burned alive in a movie theater.) In other words, do not take Django Unchained as a literal anecdote of slavery in the U.S.

      • It is entetainment, and we shouldn’t take everything for granted. That being said, Mandigo fight did exist, and I doubt anything could have prepared me for a filmed representation of that either.

  13. I read the script before seeing the film last week and as a fellow Tarantino lover, it was everything I expected from him (actually I expected a full Wu-Tang soundtrack). Leonardo DiCaprio was a great Calvin Candie and Sam Jackson hit it head on.

  14. Great review, Afrobella! You almost changed my mind! However, you mention expectations. I don’t think it’s too far off to expect a director – regardless of who he/she is -to handle a sensitive, divisive and potentially explosive subject like slavery with honor. Anything less, is unacceptable and a complete slap in the face to my ancestors. Having said that, since I admittedly have not seen the movie, my question is simple: “what’s the take away?” Will the film move us to create an unbreakable community bond amongst black folks where we’ll harness our collective intellect and talent to improve our communities? Will it cause us to reflect on all the horror and dehuminization that was slavery and work together as a society to eradicate racsim? Are Mr. Tarantino and his fellow cast members willing to donate any of the films’ proceeds to an AA organization or non profit that teaches our youth a combined curriculum on slavery/jim crow and modern day inequalities, highlights the amazing accomplishments of AA people and prepares youth for civic participation? If it can accomplish that, then I’m willing to support it. Otherwise, spending my hard earned money so that Hollywood can once again profit off of “black folks tragedies” just doesn’t sit well with my soul. Perhaps, Afrobella, once we start EXPECTING and DEMANDING more from studios, networks and other media who continue to reap the benefits, things will get better. Until then…well you know the rest!

    • I see what you are saying and thank you for commenting! I have never heard of such hopes or expectations laid at the feet of Spike Lee or Tyler Perry or John Singleton…or even Stephen Spielberg or George Lucas. Looking to a film to “move us to create an unbreakable community bond amongst black folks where we’ll harness our collective intellect and talent to improve our communities” is a TALL order. Lean On Me couldn’t accomplish that. Django Unchained can’t be categorized as a film about “black folks tragedies.” For me one of the takeaways is that slavery was truly America’s shame. Tarantino did a great job of underscoring that.

      I look forward to hearing your views if/when you see the movie!

      • “I have never heard of such hopes or expectations laid at the feet of Spike Lee or Tyler Perry or John Singleton…or even Stephen Spielberg or George Lucas. Looking to a film to “move us to create an unbreakable community bond amongst black folks where we’ll harness our collective intellect and talent to improve our communities” is a TALL order.”

        THIS! Bella, thank you for the honest, realistic review and for saying this. When I see Django, and as a major Tarantino fan I will, I expect to enjoy the movie for what it is and nothing more. Tarantino as a director is not the second coming! He makes a certain type of film and either you like them or you do not.

      • Cali-girl says:

        I’m probably one of the last holdouts to see this movie in April 2013, and I regret every dime I contributed toward it on PPV. This is totally irresponsible and disrespectful toward Black folks living in America, and it surely paves the way for “Nigga” to become an acceptable reference toward us all over again. Anyone who has studied psychology knows that the backwards science of “Phrenology” it is the basis for advertising and cinema, and if you don’t think that either of these play a role in shaping the everyday perceptions of white folks toward blacks, or blacks toward one another, then you need to get somewhere and get a clue. And I’m not just talking about a spit’s worth of time in slave-history according to this one man’s story, I’m talking about how the movie subliminally makes that inferior reference applicable in the here-and-now by using contemporary music to incite/entice the audience. Apparently, this worked on those who think that “Nigga” only refers to “those people” and would never be applicable to YOU on the job or on the street. Let me say this, if they can point to the Obamas and make that reference, they can surely assign that to any of the rest of us.

        Now, there’s one observation that Tarantino got right, true “Niggas” are loyal to their masters and will turn on their own, kill themselves, or die defending their masters before they will rise above their own ignorance. This applies to the most ignorant of people in all races. So you don’t have to use the “N-word” yourself, ignorant others will be glad to help you out with that at any given moment!

        In Earl Graves’ book, “How to succeed in business without being White,” he talks about the fact that corporate-America runs America (not the government, not the people), and those in charge are predominently White-males who still consider Black folks inferior–and, yes, “Niggers.” So guess what, if YOU (Black folks) think a movie like Django is funny, gripping, moving, spectacular cinematography, or whatever–and you let THEM know this–then don’t be surprised when those references of inferiority and incidents of White superiority start invading your present-day reality with avengance! Even if you think that you’ve evolved, racist people are still running things and they don’t need any more evidence that you are okay with the way things were or can be again. Supporting movies like Django gives them that evidence and lets them know that their advertising/marketing research is in alignment with what they think about the Black man’s ability to endure torture, pain, rage, and humiliation WITHOUT RETALIATION.

        Enough said…

  15. Tiffany, Tarantino is telling a story. That is his number one concern. When you make a movie “about” slavery, then there are certain expectations that you carry into a movie, and in that case your criticisms hold water. I don’t think it is fair, however, to request that any movie that has slavery in it be “about” slavery, as evil as that institution was. But this movie is not “about” slavery, any more than the Holocaust comedy “Life is Beautiful” was “about” the Holocaust. In this case, the movie is actually about revenge and heroism.

    You ask “Will the film move us to create an unbreakable community bond amongst black folks where we’ll harness our collective intellect and talent to improve our communities? ” There’s an old saying in hollywood, which is, “it’s not fair to blame a movie director for failing to achieve what he did not attempt.” Tarantino is certainly not attempting to do any of these greater things you wanted him to achieve, with the exception of showing the horrors of slavery, and in taht sense he certainly does achieve this, and in spades.

  16. I’m a Black filmmaker and I loved this film. It was funny, violent, sad, hard to watch & horrifying all in one fell swoop. The acting was stellar, the writing was cheeky & deep. It is a film to be studied. It dealt with so many issues that a blog post just can’t encompass all the intricacies & carefully crafted nuances in this film. I’m glad I didn’t read any of the reviews before viewing the film. I had a fresh view of the story. Slavery is a bitter pill to swallow. Being a filmmaker who focuses on Black-centered topics and an advocate for the black community, it disappoints me to hear the commentary from folks like Spike Lee. We gotta do better y’all.

  17. Imagine if you HAD qualified as a Film Critic! Great review of the movie and I loved reading all of the comments. First off, movies by their nature are meant to be primarily for entertainment, then for elucidation – they are not documentaries – they may be mostly fiction or can be a bit of fact and fiction.

    Tarantino is always off the wall, so as you say “manage your expectations.”

    As to allowing ‘Hollywood to profit off black folks tragedies’ maybe you need to rent the television series “Roots – The saga of an American family” or read the book which was researched and written by an African American – as I am sure that any profits from that were not donated to those organisations that were quoted – something to check out.

    Also, if directors or writers want to showcase this period in history and do not have the funds, they should seek the involvement of Oprah, Will Smith, Tyler Perry and any of the top African American actors, writers and other professionals for possible funding. Isn’t there an organisation that seeks the AfricanAmerican interest in the USA? Have they complained about the movie?

    Movies aren’t always meant to be light hearted and sweet – the topic of this movie, as with that of Les Miserables, which was also mentioned, is about life at a specific time and place in the human world history.

    I believe that this movie has caught the attention of the Oscar Awards Committee! Best of luck! And Afrobella – do more of these reviews!!!

  18. I saw it last night, I agree w/U it is totally: ‘blaxploitation/spaghetti western/revenge movie.’ Would I watch it again? Only when it comes on cable. All in All it was Ok, I wish Kerry Washington had more speaking parts & the way Django ‘partner’ died was off to me…. Lastly it is a GREAT conversation movie, because every one will tk something different from it….

  19. First of all I have never been of fan of Tarantino’s movies that have black characters. They are always very exploitive of the black community and far too often are bafoonish depictions. If black movie goers consider his movies great entertainment, or that he really has a feel for black culture, they are sadly mistaken. Tarantino’s movies, and this one in particular plays another form of psychological warfare on blacks folks mind. The disturbing scenes of dehumanization and torture afflicted upon our people throughout the movie combined with the fact that a good white man sets Django free and helps him get his revenge on the bad white people, is simply disturbing. This is not an empowering movie. For all the people cheering at the end, you are cheering in denial. If you really want to stick it to the white man. Don’t support this movie.

  20. I absolutely loved this movie! I especially enjoyed that Broomhilda’s only quality was that she was beautiful and Django loved her! She didn’t have to lift one damn finger in her defense. She was not the sassy black character we are accustomed to nor was she the whore that is often pushed off on us. She was simply beautiful and loved. She lifted no axe and her main strength is that she was still running away even while Django was finding his way to her! Too often the black woman has to somehow assist the man in being the man! He was a man all by himself and once he obtained his freedom he relentlessly defended himself and his woman. This is the black man I grew up hearing about from family members ones that found their way (whether set free or runaways) You can make this movie be what you want it to be… At the end of the day I’m sure many black women dreamed of this man during slavery… A lover who would risk everything to come and save them and exact retribution on each and everything that caused them harm. If I had been a slave girl I would have dreamed of Django… It would have been bloodier… and i wouldn’t have cared how he came about his freedom as long as he took care of us once he got it. (Given or taken freedom… just come get me brother!)

    • I agree with your post! I love how you put it “Too often the black woman has to somehow assist the man in being the man!” So true, He never gave up on her. While out of his presence She held her own and attempted to free herself but once in his presence she allowed him to be a man, a protector and defender!!

  21. @Afrobella -
    Thanks — enjoyed your write-up.
    I can empathize with members of the black community who consider the topic
    of American slavery to be entirely inappropriate for comic treatment.
    I felt (and feel) the same way about Benigni’s Life Is Beautiful — I can’t ever see
    the holocaust as an appropriate backdrop for comedy.
    I can only hope that the film will engender discussion of a brutal historical reality
    that is typically and too often ignored and, more importantly, how the legacy of slavery
    continues to adversely impact the African American community (e.g. – wwb, dwb,
    and a heinously inequitable application of criminal drug laws (and prison sentences)).

  22. Jesus-in-the-City says:

    This was a really great review! I’m not a regular reader of your blog, but I am going to add it to my ipad home screen for a few weeks, just due to the merit of this article. You should really consider starting a side blog/ passion project for movie reviews or maybe an Afrobella Does the Movies page on this one! I used to be an avid film buff as well, as an actor for 5 years and a lover of old, foreign and art house films, so your passion for the art really resonates with me! After giving my life to Christ a few years ago, I don’t get the same enjoyment from watching most current day movies, getting checked by the Holy Spirit all the time, so I don’t watch nearly as many films as I used to (aside from baby stuff, being a mom of a toddler with one on the way) and mainly focus on documentaries and classics these days. I probably wouldn’t see Django for this reason but I really had no desire to see it until I read this really first rate review!

    Not having seen the movie, it does make me smirk hearing that people take issue with the “N” word being used derogatorily in a slavery movie. I never use the word myself, I was raised to hate the word rather than to glorify it, so it would seem in my opinion, like being used in its original context might serve to make people think twice about using it so flippantly and the offensiveness it arises in others, even when used in the present day.

    Congrats on a stellar movie review, Afrobella, and I’ll be checking in with the high hopes of maybe reading some more in the future! God bless! Aja

  23. I haven’t seen the movie and I don’t have any intentions on seeing. Quentin Tarantino has made millions exploiting black culture in the name of “entertainment”. Whatever…just shock and awe.
    Jae Mac, I’m Just Sayin’…(Damn!)

  24. Great review. You missed another one of your callings. I’d love to read your film reviews regularly on this blog.

    However, the movie didn’t do it for me. I think it came at a bad time with all America’s emphasis on violence. Violence is getting old.

  25. drymartini says:

    I’ve seen Tarantino’s movies. I’ll wait for Redbox.

  26. I must say Afrobella your review was spot on! I saw the movie today and loved it. Yes, the N word was used excessively in the movie but not more than is was during slavery time. I think folks need to take a chill pill and understand that Tarentino is not a historian and did not set out to set the record staight on anything pertaining to slavery. As a black woman, I did not feel like he was bashing our race or culture. He higlighted the stupidity of whites as well. One of my favorite scene was the “KKK” meeting…hilarious!!!!

  27. I’m so tardy to this party (I haven’t checked my Reader in a while) but I want to add my two cents.

    One, thanks for your review. You hit many of the main points I feel about this film.

    My main reason for liking this film is the fact that the protagonist, a Black slave, was not made into a paradigm of righteousness and a stand-in for the uplift of an entire group. He was portrayed as ONE MAN. So often, movies and films about us are symbolic and meant to provide a larger moral story. The fact that a Black man, particularly a slave, is portrayed as an INDIVIDUAL is a leap forward. We are often portrayed as a monolith, when we are — and always have been — people with individual thoughts and desires, for better and worse.

    I believe the symbolic, monolithic films serve a good purpose and I enjoy many of them. This film about one imperfect man, who pursues vengeance on his own behalf (not on behalf of “all Black people”) shows those who watch this movie that slaves were people — for better or worse. The understanding of the humanity of slaves is something I feel too many people miss when they study history, and a realization that carries into the present day for some.

  28. Loved the review and comments everyone! I haven’t decided yet if I’ll watch the film but most likely I will. I feel better prepared and aware of people’s reactions after reading your excellent review, Afrobella. Thanks for the great discussion, everyone!

  29. Great Review should become a movie critic :)

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  1. [...] Django Unchained is a fantasy. It is ridiculous and over the top. It’s frequently cartoonish in its violence and imagery. It is not for the faint of heart. If I had to summarize Django Unchained in four words, I’d say – Bloody. Brash. Unmistakably Tarantino. A petition against it is pointless, and Spike Lee refusing to see it won’t do anything to slow down what I see as inevitable, big success for this movie on Christmas Day. I know this movie is gonna make a whole lot of people mad – understandably so.  Read More of Afrobella Film Review of Django Unchained here. [...]

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