Dear White People is not a bad film by any means. It kept my attention, the cinematography is beautiful, and the film has it’s moments. But, I felt that the film we got was not the film that was hyped up to be, in more ways than one.
3 Problems I had with Dear White People
1: Misleading Ad Campaign
The ads portray a film where the main focus is discussing white ignorance on the matter of racism. The whole “racial Halloween party” plot hyped up in the ads also didn’t come in until the last 30 minutes of the movie, so it misled views about that controversial plot-line being the main focus. Instead, it’s a “find your place” film. Where you have characters struggling with racial and even sexual identity. Which is fine, but this wasn’t by coincidence, this was more than likely done purposely, which will be explained latter.
2: Poor characters
I didn’t like any of the characters. None. I couldn’t even relate to them because I found their plights to be so petty and asinine. One can’t find a middle ground between extremism and inaction/hypocrisy concerning combating racism and racial prejudice. One thinks they can’t fit in with black people because black people are more homophobic than white people. One is convinced that white people want to be like black people (because they get tans) and that makes it okay for them to do and say racist shit.
Yeah, there’s more to it, but that what you get out of it. I hardly remember some of the character’s names. But let’s focus on the main two protagonists, if you can call them that.
Sam = Black Revolutionary
This archetype can be done and done well. It was done in the form of Huey Freeman, who, in the boondocks comic strip is actually fairly fleshed out as a character.
But here, it’s done. There’s not revolutionary about her. During the film, she plays a movie meant to represent Obama paranoia. So the people kill themselves. Her ideology is so goofy and extreme, it can’t be taken seriously. Huey was realistic enough for you to understand the seriousness. In Sam’s case, it’s so over the top, you see her points as complaining rather than valid commentary.
Lionel = Black Nerd
Was not interesting. In the slightest. Typical, “unpopular geek” type who’s only distinguishing traits is a giant fro and the fact he’s gay.
He’s supposed, but the film makes the suggestion that black people have more of a problem with homosexuality than whites. Which is fucking insane. It seems like the typical excuse gay African Americans use. Homophobes are homophobes, race has nothing to do with whether you have a problem with gay people. The film does almost nothing to try to correct this point, but it’s whatever.
3: It wasn’t funny.
It didn’t make me laugh, and the above reasons had nothing to do with it. If something’s funny, it’s funny. But this film was hardly that, it relied on through dialogue that the writers believe to be clever, but come off as pretentious.
This movie does nothing to advance the conversation concerning racism, racial identity. In all honesty, it seems moreso like an outlet for the author. Which is absolutely fine, I have no issues with that, but can we not pretend a memoir in disguise about your confusion concerning race is a biting commentary on race in America? Please? Because you think black people may have an issue with interracial relationships, homophobia, and because you want white people to understand, doesn’t make it so.
The following below are articles discussing the intent of the film, using words from the director and cast themselves.