WARNING SPOILER ALERT
I went to see Django Unchained with my family today…when the movie ended , I clapped…not because I was so moved by the theatrical portrayal that is Django Unchained, but because that long azz movie was finally over.
Why is it that I left the movie Django Unchained feeling sooo damn insulted?.. I’ve been trying to wrap my head around it and here is what I can come up with.
The movie Django Unchained is so outlandish and so anachronistic that it almost comes off as comical or exploitative. Slavery was not a comic book, slavery wasn’t a joke and above all slavery was not a western.
The seriousness of slavery and the horror that African-American ancestors went through is demeaned by the manner in which this movie portrays slavery itself. I don’t want to go into details, but pretty much all the movie contained was fictional “Django,” and his white German friend shooting people constantly with ketchup-like blood splattering everywhere.
There were so many stereotypes in the movie from the Jezebel to the mammy too the mandingo…to the brute…to the Uncle Tom. It was just insulting on so many levels and again even with a movie that has slavery as the CENTER PIECE of the plot…we still learn little to nothing about slavery from a historical perspective. It amazes me how time and time again movies that are supposed to be about slavery…really aren’t.
Even in the movie Lincoln, although in my opinion it was better than this nonsense…it still wasn’t perfect…even in Lincoln they glossed over the horror of slavery and when any one of the character would mention slavery, they would speak the line so quickly that you could hardly catch what they were saying…like Mrs. Keckley talks about being whipped…but she just says it so quickly before they jump to the next line you barely catch it…like it was MORE than glossed over…
But back to Django…if they wanted to portray an act of rebellion by slaves against the white enslaves…why not make a respectable, accurate and historical movie about the Nat Turner Revolt?…why exploit the history of slavery in such a way…
I feel like that movie was nothing more than historical porn…it’s like after you’ve eaten a bunch of junk food and then you get sad afterward because you just took in all these empty calories and you’re still not satisfied…that is how Django made me feel…
I learned NOTHING from that movie.
All that happened was that I left the movie with a headache and hungry.
Things That The Movie Made a Mockery Of:
1. Rape of enslaved Black women (nothing more than porn and pussy parties if we go by Django). We don’t really get the emotional side of the rape that the women endured. We are only shown how angry it makes Django to see his wife abused because well..she’s his wife…we don’t really get the emotional side of what it would have been like for the women who were actually being abused.
I felt like women throughout the film overall were nothing more than mindless props…
2. It oversimplified slavery itself…they made it seem like it was just “that easy,” for an enslaved African-American to just kill all the white enslavers and get away from the plantation…it was just that simple and easy really?…
3. The “fancy girls,” or I guess they were supposed to be creole fancy girls because they were speaking French…they were props too. They made it seem as if every fancy girl was happy and content to be used as an object of sexual gratification for white men. It’s true that sometimes consensual relationship developed between fancy girls and the men they were involved with…but often times fancy girls were sold against their will into sexual slavery…particularly in the Delta region of the south and were abused sexually constantly…but Django just made it seem like they were living it up…dressed in nice clothes, drinking fine wine as if they weren’t SLAVES still…I didn’t get that.
4. The house slaves…the house slaves were portrayed as double agents or Uncle Toms all throughout the film and it’s true that there were some slaves who were traitors and who sided with the white slave owners (whether under duress or of their own free will) but this movie made it seem like most house slaves thought that they were better than the other slaves and sided with master and from what I’ve read that does NOT seem to be true. Often times house slaves would overhear when a sale was going to take place or would relay information they overheard from the slave master to the slaves in field or in the quarters so that they could alert their family and friends ahead of time what was to take place. Some house slaves outright rebelled against the slave owners. So I think it’s just divisive to portray Black people who were house slaves in such a perfidious and myopic manner.
5. Female slave hands are all ugly and ignorant…well at least that’s the impression that I got from Django when he said (in reference to his wife Broomhilda) “oh she ain’t no field hand…she pretty and she talk well…” So basically here we go again with the field vs. the house crap…so now women who worked in the fields were ugly and ignorant…??? Really???…like there were no ugly house slaves?… what I took from Django’s reference to the beauty of Broomhilda and her status as a house slave was that the female house slaves were somehow better than the field workers…hmmmm…
6. Why was the KKK portrayed in this movie when it wasn’t founded until AFTER slavery in 1865?
7. Finally, someone please explain to me why in the hell does the character Django have to “earn his freedom,” from the white bounty hunter who so gallantly rescues him from the horrors of slavery…only to make him a slave to himself? Well yes, Dr. Schultz promises Django freedom, but only after Django pulls a magical negro and helps the Doctor with his bounty hunting tasks…huh? Why should Django have to earn his freedom…IF Doctor was so against slavery, he should know that we’re all born free and entitled to freedom…
I could go on…the whole movie was just a joke to me though…there were far too many laughs for a movie that is supposed to be portraying such a serious topic.
I would say don’t go into Django Unchained expecting any historical accuracy…there isn’t much and it would benefit everyone to read up on Slavery on their own because you won’t get much from the movie itself.
A Personal Note:
A few good things did come out of my watching this movie
1. I got to spend some time with my family
2. I was reminded of why it’s important to study African-American history on my own…so that I can challenge misrepresentations when they show up in films.
3. I got to see beautiful, dark brown skinned Black women on film for once. The sad thing is it takes a movie about slavery to show dark-skinned Black women. As if the only time Black women can actually look Black is when we’re in a subordinate position to everyone else…but what can I say? The portrayal of Black women left much to be desired, but at least they actually were Black and beautiful looking…which is more than I can say for a lot of other movies. *cough cough, Red Tails*
No the movie wasn’t horrible from an action standpoint…and like I said earlier it gives you that sugar rush that you may want…but does it really leave you feeling satisfied?..