Till Parent Guide
This film about a dark moment in American history is also a portrait of a woman of remarkable courage and commitment.
Parent Movie Review
Mamie (Danielle Deadwyler) always had reservations about sending her 14-year-old son, Emmett (Jalyn Hall) to visit his family in Mississippi. Mamie raised Emmett in the comparative safety of Chicago, but sending a black child to Mississippi in 1955 is far from safe. And when Emmett is kidnapped from his uncle’s home and killed, it pushes his mother down a hard path. Apart from the unbearable grief of losing her only child, Mamie has been thrust into a national spotlight. Her decisions about everything from his funeral to his trial will directly impact not only her life, but the lives of her family, and the ongoing struggle against racial violence in America.
The murder of Emmet Till is one of the hardest stories in American history, and obviously a film based on the events isn’t going to be an easy watch. Danielle Deadwyler anchors the film with an incredible performance, which portrays Mamie’s shift from anxiety to grief, and finally to a steely determination that is all the more remarkable for its grounding in reality. It’s a nightmare that most parents would prefer not to imagine, and the film is uncompromising in exploring the devastating reality of Mamie Till’s life.
Famously, one of Mamie’s decisions was to insist on an open casket for her son’s funeral. Emmet’s nearly unrecognizable body provoked strong reactions, forcing America to confront the incredible violence simmering within its society. As such, it’s an image that the film has to show. It’s not easy to look at, but it is so historically significant to the story that I would not imagine making this film without it. Throughout, the body is treated respectfully, with as little spectacle as possible, but if that’s something you don’t think you can handle, you should know that before you’re sitting in a theater.
Apart from that, the film is remarkably clean. There are brief scenes of smoking and social drinking, and no depictions of sexual content. Profanity is limited to a handful of terms of deity and racial slurs. Apart from painting a moving and difficult picture of one of the darkest moments in American history, and an incredible portrait of an unimaginably strong woman, Till could be a solid teaching aid in explaining to students the early stages of the civil rights movement. That said, this is better suited to teenagers than children, primarily due to the disturbing violence and social complexities. But for anyone old enough to handle those, I think this is a significant film, and well worth the emotional pain that comes with watching it.Directed by Chinonye Chukwu. Starring Danielle Deadwyler, Jalyn Hall, Whoopi Goldberg. Running time: 130 minutes. Theatrical release October 28, 2022. Updated October 28, 2022
Watch the trailer for Till
Rating & Content Info
Why is Till rated PG-13? Till is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for thematic content involving racism, strong disturbing images and racial slurs.
Violence: Torture and murder are heard but are not seen on-screen. The badly damaged body of Emmett Till is seen on several occasions.
Sexual Content: There are non-graphic allegations of sexual assault.
Profanity: There are infrequent uses of terms of deity. There are also a handful of racial slurs.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Adults are briefly seen drinking and smoking.
Page last updated October 28, 2022
Till Parents' Guide
When was the Emmet Till Antilynching Act passed? Why did it take so long to pass anti-lynching legislation in the United States? How many people of color have been lynched in the United States? When did the last lynching occur?
In 2018, the National Memorial for Peace and Justice opened in Montgomery, Alabama. This museum is partly dedicated to African Americans who were lynched. For more information about the museum, click here.
Lynching has a long and terrifying history in America. You can learn more about lynching in general and Emmett Till in particular it by clicking on the links below:
Equal Justice Initiative: Lynching in America: Confronting the Legacy of Racial Terror
National Museum of African American History & Culture: Emmett Till’s Death Inspired a Movement
Loved this movie? Try these books…
If you’re looking for a more child-friendly introduction to race in America, try Roll of Thunder, Hear my Cry or late congressman John Lewis’ series of graphic novels, March.
For more extensive information about Emmett Till you can read Getting Away with Murder: The True Story of the Emmett Till Case by Chris Crowe. His story is also told in graphic novel format in The Murder of Emmett Till: A Graphic History, written by Karlos Hill and illustrated by Dave Dodson. The relationship between his murder and the struggle for freedom is detailed in Emmett Till: The Murder that Shocked the World and Propelled the Civil Rights Movement by Devery S Anderson and Julian Bond.