“Civil rights activist Ann Atwater faces off against C.P. Ellis, Exalted Cyclops of the Ku Klux Klan, in 1971 Durham, North Carolina over the issue of school integration.”
The Best of Enemies Trailer – imdb.com/video/vi1569896985/
The film starts off with Ann Atwater fighting for the rights of tenants. She spoke to city officials who just ignored her. A few days later there was a fire at an all-black school. At an open meeting to discuss the problem, a city council man just turned his back to the crowd. Ann Atwater spins him around and gives him a little talking to . . .
A proposal is put forward to organize a charrette by Bill Riddick, which is a collaborative session of representatives of both black and white people of Durham. Leaders are assigned for each table with discussions aimed at drafting a solution. A vote of 8 would carry the day. The blacks want the children to actually have the latest books and the whites don’t want to integrate, but instead make repairs to the old school. The whites feel that the vote is not a problem with C.P. Ellis (played by Sam Rockwell), Exalted Cyclops of the Ku Klux Klan as one of those who can cast a vote and work to make sure all whites work together. The leader for the blacks is Ann Atwater (played by Taraji P. Henson).
Although we think of the Klan as all powerful, since the 1960s their power has been diminished. In Durham, North Carolina in 1971 they weren’t burning crosses, but they still wielded power.
“Despite a persistent ability to attract media attention, organized Ku Klux Klan groups are actually continuing a long-term trend of decline. They remain a collection of mostly small, disjointed groups that continually change in name and leadership. Down slightly from a year ago, there are currently just over thirty active Klan groups in the United States, most of them very small. However, the association of Klan members with criminal activity has remained consistent.”
For more information you can download and read “Tattered Robes: The State of the Ku Klux Klan in the United States” – adl.org/sites/default/files/documents/assets/pdf/combating-hate/tattered-robes-state-of-kkk-2016.pdf
C.P. Ellis and Ann Atwater are both stubborn. Ellis doesn’t want to see the blacks come out on top, but begins to work and share rather than pout or throw a fit.
Ellis’ life begins to change when he visits the hardware store owned by a white man in the charette, Lee Tromblay. Tromblay owns the hardware store, but has a black man managing it. Ellis learns that not only is the black man highly capable, but saved the life of Tromblay when they fought together in Vietnam.
I always enjoy reading bios and seeing actors without their costumes and attitudes. Sam Rockwell and Taraji P. Henson look far different than the characters they play.
This is an excellent movie and the actors did an incredible job. I would not have wanted to live in Durham in 1971, but now I have friends that travel there to golf and others talk about moving there. The population of Durham is 10,701,022 with a breakdown of 68.68% White and 21.44% Black or African American.
Robin Bissell and Osha Gray Davidson (inspired by true events chronicled in ‘The Best of Enemies: Race and Redemption in the New South’)
I’m deeply moved
“This film tells the story of two opposing parties in the racially segregated society decades ago. The story is captivating and beautifully told. It tells a process of increasing mutual understanding, thereby reaching a groundbreaking consensus. It is a thought provoking and truly inspiring tale. I am deeply moved by it.”
Any film with Sam Rockwell is good with me
“Taraji P. Henson and Sam Rockwell were tremendous in this film. Sammy has always been a true actor and steals the scenes.”
Inspiring story of heroism and hope
“Although some reviews relegate this to the “sanitized racial reconciliation narrative” dump pile, I believe that movies like this inspire people to learn more and they are worth every bit of time and investment. Thankful that producers continue to find stories like this can give us hope in a world where most of what we see on the news and are offered in theaters and streaming services are based on concerningly sick and/or violent themes that leave me feeling angry, fearful and depressed.”
For more information about this movie, please visit – imdb.com/title/tt4807408/
I beg to differ that Sam Rockwell steals the scenes. I’ve seen many of his films, and his name in a movie helps me makes a selection to view it, but in this film I really, really, enjoyed the work of Taraji P. Henson. I’ve loved her acting ever since seeing her in “Hidden Figures.”