New To On Demand And DVD: The Best of Enemies
We fear what we do not know. Insulated in our own circle of friends, when we do not reach out to those who believe differently or simply appear different to us, we develop many unwarranted opinions. That was the case in 1971 Durham, N.C., as described in the film The Best of Enemies.
Ann Atwater (Taraji P. Henson) is a well-known civil rights activist fighting for the members of the African-American community in Durham. The city council and all its members are well aware of Ann’s tactics and realize that staying in office means catering to Ann’s agenda.
C.P. Ellis (Sam Rockwell) serves as the chapter leader of the Ku Klux Klan and is known throughout the community for following the KKK mantra and doing the work they are entrusted to do. He, too, has friends within the city council, but his friends tend to enlist him and his members to carry out their dirty work.
When a black school in Durham is destroyed by a fire, the residents are confronted with the question of whether the displaced kids can attend the all-white school and integrate the student body. A community-wide summit is convened, and the powers that be elect Ann and C.P. to head the discussions, a move they both push back on. Will the two be able to keep from killing each other and actually make a difference?
The filmmakers couldn’t have chosen a better actress to portray Atwater. Henson is a wonder as she easily morphs into the role, and you are able to quickly distinguish this amazing woman from other characters Henson has portrayed. With the variety of projects Henson has performed in, I can confidently state that she is one of the most talented actresses working today.
Rockwell is an award-winning actor himself and plays the difficult and racist Ellis with the touch of a talented veteran actor. Taking on the extreme views while allowing for character growth is difficult, and Rockwell is up for the challenge.
In today’s world, we rarely listen to the other side of any issue. We take to our social media accounts and express our “hot takes” on issues. From who makes the best french fries to much deeper and more divisive issues, we rally behind our side and don’t even admit the other side is human. Listen to one another. It doesn’t mean you have to agree with what the person next to you is saying, but if you don’t listen, you’ll lack the ability to truly understand. We can change the world, but we must listen to each other to do it.
Ann Atwater said it best: “Same God made you, made me.”
The Best of Enemies is available On Demand and on DVD beginning July 2. Check your cable system for availability