Welcome to The Daily Cup a movie blog/writing project by Kyle B. Dekker, presented by Hot Chocolate Media. You can read series concept here. The basic rules, Kyle must watch 365 movies in 2018 and write about all of them. 292 of them have to be movies he's never seen before. Thanks for reading.
America has an ugly history with racism. It’s permanent stain on our history and it continues to stunt the growth of our country. We think of the stories from the Civil War and the Civil Rights movement as ages ago, when in reality we still have two generations of people alive who were there for the movement, on both sides. The Greatest Generation prides itself in fighting World War II and winning the battle against oppression and fascism. And while that may be true, it was done in the shadow of extreme hypocrisy of America’s own treatment of people of color, specifically African Americans. Mudbound (2017) is Dee Rees’s powerful and heartbreaking film about America’s own struggle with equality and its impact on two families.
Based on a novel of the same name by Hillary Jordan, the film focuses on the lives of two families in rural Mississippi during and just after World War II. The story is told through the of different characters in the film. We have the two soldiers fighting in the war; Ronsel Jackson (Jason Mitchell), a tank Commander serving under Patton and Jamie McAllen (Garrett Hedlund) a B-25 Pilot. The Jackson family are sharecroppers working on the land of Henry McAllen (Jason Clarke). Hap Jackson (Rob Morgan) works the land with his wife Florence (Mary J. Blige) and their children as they have for many years. Henry McAllen is the newest owner of the land and brings his family along including his wife Laura (Carey Mulligan) and his father Pappy (Jonathan Banks). Life is hard in rural Mississippi and the families face many of them together, but most telling is how the Jackson family always makes sacrifices on behalf of the McAllen family. The power structure of race in the American south couldn’t be any more clear. This is the very real and very grim world these characters inhabit.
Both Ronsel and Jamie safely return from the war, but both carry wounds you cannot see. The two men become friends and go and spend time with each other in secret as they share war stories and experiences. Even though these two men share a bond of war, the death of compatriots, and service, they can’t show their companionship with each other. This is further complicated by the very racist patriarch of the McAllen family. In one very intense scene Pappy and his racist friend stop Ronsel from leaving the front door of the general store, as that is reserved for white people. Ronsel is in his Army uniform, freshly back from the war. He proudly and deservedly dresses down the two racist white men, yet is still forced to leave via the back entrance. To maintain the peace between the families Ronsel has to apologize to the men for embarrassing them and damaging their white pride. They don’t show the apology (I think that would destroy everyone who watched this movie) but the idea that Ronsel, a proud and powerful black man would have to apologize to a pair of decrepit white men is infuriating. The conflict between Pappy and Ronsel continues into a very terrible and heartbreaking conflict that is foreshadowed at the beginning of the film.
This film is heartbreaking and incredibly beautiful. The cast is phenomenal and delivers amazing performances throughout, Mary J. Blige delivers a very memorable and sad performance at the Jackson family matriarch, enduring in spite of the most terrible things that happen to her family. The cinematography and editing of this film create a visual elements that enhances and sets the mood for the story. Director of Photography Rachel Morrison uses light and shadow in such a way that you are but in the grime and grit of rural Mississippi alongside the characters. This is a film that everyone should watch, it is truly a masterpiece.
Movies new to me watched: 32/292
Other movies: 9/73
Total movies watched: 41/365
Have your own thoughts or opinions on this movie? Comment below or contact Kyle at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @kbdekker.