The Best of Enemies
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Can anyone ever truly change? This nearly unbelievable true story suggests they can. It’s 1971 in Durham, North Carolina. The Civil Rights movement is in full swing, and activist Ann Atwater (Taraji P. Henson) argues for school integration over the objections of C.P. Ellis (Sam Rockwell), an Exalted Cyclops of the Ku Klux Klan.
Despite the volatility of their diametrically-opposed viewpoints, a city councilman calls Atwater and Ellis to co-lead an extended series of meetings to manage the city’s transition to integration. Despite their differences, the two have to find common ground and find a path to the future together.
- Taraji P. Henson
- Sam Rockwell
- Babou Ceesay
- Anne Heche
- Wes Bentley
- Nick Searcy
- Bruce McGill
- John Gallagher Jr.
- Nicholas Logan
- Gilbert Glenn Brown
Did You Know?
- Some bar scenes were shot at the American Legion in Tucker, Georgia.
- Early in the film there is a scene where some Klan members are shooting up the house of a woman because she is dating a black man. They wait for the second floor bedroom light to come on before they start shooting, but when the film cuts back to the scene outside a second later the bedroom light is not on.
- C.P. Ellis: She looked at me like I was some kind of monster.
- Mary Ellis: What did you expect?
Atom User Reviews
Excellent Movie!!! I'm glad this story was told and we as a nation can learn from it.
This movie is awesome!! I live in NC and had no idea of this great piece of history in our back door!
The key, according to the film, is dialogue and altruism — namely, black overtures to white hate. The onus is as misplaced as the movie’s sympathies.
No doubt the world needs more paeans to tolerance, but movies as ineffectual as The Best Of Enemies feel profoundly inadequate to the task.
While it lacks the ambition to turn its obvious plot into a film that feels new, it also avoids the pitfalls of moral smugness and stereotyping. It flows along easily, bolstered by Taraji P. Henson’s and Sam Rockwell’s vibrant performances.