One of the most moving and heart-breaking films of the year, Till features one of the front runners for Best Actress, Danielle Deadwyler. Directed by Chinonye Chukwu and co-starring Jalyn Hall and Frankie Faison, Till is the story of Emmett Till’s mother, Mamie Till-Mobley. In 1955 Emmett Till, a 14-year-old Chicago boy, went to visit his cousins in Mississippi, and he was lynched – an event that later became a lodestone for the Civil Rights movement.

Danielle Deadwyler holds Till together with an amazing, profound performance in a deeply emotional and important film. Till focuses as much on Black dignity and courage as it does on trauma. Like The Woman King, pay attention to what Chukwu does not show; a lesser film would have lingered on the atrocity rather than spending more time on the characters’ responses.

That is not to say that Till isn’t disturbing; it is – profoundly so. Mamie’s decision to allow Jet magazine to photograph Emmet’s mutilated body and to hold an open-casket funeral lay bare the reality and brutality of racial violence and set in motion the public furor that led to the Civil Rights movement. The dramatizations of these real events are both captivating and intensely uncomfortable to watch.

By necessity the film is one note, but any deviation from the dirge would seem discordant. Also, in the beginning there are a few shots that are awkwardly composed; particularly one shot at the beginning places Whoopi Goldberg’s character (the star has a very small part as Mamie’s mother) in an awkward spot in the lower eighth of the frame for no discernible reason. Later in Till, the director properly highlights Deadwyler’s performance. One shot sequence holds on Mamie throughout her testimony in court, and Deadwyler is transfixing.

Till is an important, captivating, and amazing film with one of the best performances of the year.