A female, powerfully outspoken African-American civil rights activist convinced the winner of the 1971 Ku Klux Klan award for Exalted Cyclops of the Year (aka the Oscars of hate) to vote in favor of desegregation. Taraji P. Henson stars as Ann Atwater, the community organizer who gradually thaws to the idea of participating in a 10-day charrette, a collaborative meeting in which she’s paired opposite C.P. Ellis (Sam Rockwell), gas station owner, father of three, and big muckety-muck in the Klan. Unless she’s speaking to her daughter, Henson’s hands-on-hips, head-cocked line-readings are all pretty much voiced at the same decibel level. Her finest moment — coming eyeball-to-eyehole with an empty hood — plays out in silence. Rockwell doesn’t bring much new to his tried-and-true cracker, Ann’s soft-spoken polar opposite, adorned by Robert Hall neckwear that ends around the third button. If what I read is accurate, the majority of what takes place is indeed based on truth, making the dull presentation of such potentially pointed material all the more imponderable.
Length: 2 hours, 13 minutes