Pick of the week: “Dear White People“: My full review is here. Justin Simien’s bold, funny and complex comedy looks at several African-American students trying to navigate the identity minefield of a “post-racial” campus, including a biracial activist, a gay nerd, and a dean’s son who can calibrate just how “street” he needs to be in a given situation. It’s a little flabby in spots, but I found this a bracing film that that accuses, and then flips the mirror back on the accusers.
“Dear White People” is now playing at Sundance Cinemas. R, 1:48, three and a half stars out of four.
There’s a scene in Justin Simien’s “Dear White People” where a group of African-American students rail against Tyler Perry movies. Staring straight at the camera, they rail magnificently against the mix of cheap comedy and greeting-card sentimentality. Then we get the reverse shot, where we see the one bewildered white movie theater clerk they’re yelling at. Why are they yelling at me, he seems to wonder?