How Nate Parker’s ‘Birth of a Nation’ Got Swallowed Up — and Defined — by Everything Outside of It

'The Birth of a Nation': Can
Fox Searchlight Pictures

Over the years, I have seen many standing ovations at the Sundance Film Festival. But this past January, at the gigantic Eccles Theatre in Park City, I watched the only standing ovation I have ever experienced — anywhere — that took place before the film it was applauding even began. That film was Nate Parker’s “The Birth of a Nation.” I felt like I understood what the ovation was about, and though I didn’t join in, I applauded in my heart.

Parker, a gifted actor who was on the rise but hardly a marquee movie star, had beaten the odds to direct, produce, co-write, and play the lead role in a movie about one of the pivotal events in African-American history. It’s a movie that Denzel Washington would have had to fight to get made — but Parker, a relative nobody, went out and did it. Simply having the moxie to bring this movie into existence was a heroic act, and the fact that it premiered in the heat of the #OscarsSoWhite imbroglio, against the backdrop of Black Lives Matter and the perception that murderous racism still thrived in America more than most of the culture was willing to admit, seemed not so much coincidence as karma. This was truly a movie of its moment. And since I had great admiration for Parker as an actor, I was eager to see what he had brought off in “The Birth of a Nation.”

I wasn’t a big fan of the movie. It had moments of grace and intensity (especially during the first half), but given the turbulent power of its subject — the violent slave uprising led by Nat Turner in Virginia in 1831 — I felt in my gut that something was missing. Yet the riptide of enthusiasm for “The Birth of a Nation” was undeniable. It was embraced as a landmark, one of those singular and impassioned indie game-changers, and when Fox Searchlight purchased the film for $17.5 million, I understood — and applauded — the wave that the company had set in motion. I could see the trajectory: The movie would come out, make $100 million, get nominated for a sea of Oscars, win some of them (maybe best picture), and kick open the door for a generation of black filmmakers. My sense was that even though “The Birth of a Nation” wasn’t the work of art that “12 Years a Slave” was (it was more like a very bloody TV movie), it would be far more commercial, because African-Americans had not turned out in great numbers to see Steve McQueen’s film, but this was a primal tale of fighting back, and that would be a significant lure, and maybe a healing one.

Related Content Film Review: ‘The Birth of a Nation’

We all know what happened after that. This summer, when it became headline news that Parker, as a college student at Penn State in 1999, had been brought up on rape charges (at trial, he was found not guilty), the storm of controversy that the case provoked seemed like the ultimate monkey wrench thrown into the movie’s potential juggernaut of popularity and acclaim. The purpose of this column is not to dissect the details of the charges, the issues of Parker’s guilt or innocence, etc. Yet it is not to draw some clean, false line between art and life either. As the controversy raged on, and as voices rose — especially on social media — to declare Parker a pariah whose movie should be boycotted, it suddenly seemed likely that the issue of the rape charge might completely derail the film. Its awards chances were written off almost by fiat, and so, in a lot of circles, were its commercial chances. For awhile, I couldn’t turn around without getting drawn into a conversation about the fate of “The Birth of a Nation,” and more than one of those conversations included speculation that the film might not even be released. That, it seemed, was how much the scandal was raining on its parade.

But now that the movie has come out — and I say this however well it does or does not do at the box office, however many awards it does or does not win — the notion that it’s a sadly limping indie blockbuster, a champion knocked out by the allegations from its creator’s past, has given way to a different reality. In one sense, the controversy over Parker obscures the movie, but in another sense it has become integral to the film’s aura, its reality, its politics. And that’s because “The Birth of a Nation” has always been a conduit for forces much greater than the film itself — a dynamic, ironically, reinforced by the aesthetic limitations of the movie. For the whole problem with “The Birth of a Nation” is that it doesn’t really, truly dramatize the story of Nat Turner. It presents it, as though it were a feature-length poster. It reduces the Turner saga to high-minded iconography surrounded by a gilded frame.

From the moment of that original standing ovation, the movie has been a placard that invites the audience to project things onto it, and that’s what’s still happening. Only now the possibilities for projection have multiplied. Is “The Birth of a Nation” The Fearless Indie Movie That Tells The Great Slave Rebellion Story? Or is it The Sleazy Cover-up Of Nate Parker’s Collegiate Descent? Or is it Parker’s High-Minded Act of Atonement? Or — if it does indeed get shut out of the awards race — is it the victim of a collective media conspiracy, a kind of #OscarsSoWhite: The Sequel? The question, at this point, isn’t even how good or bad, provocative or banal a movie like “The Birth of a Nation” is. The question has become: Which lens are you going to see it through?

The reason the movie was tailor-made to be a set of symbolic signifiers has to do with how Parker, as a filmmaker, fails to draw us inside the story he’s telling. For a while, the film’s portrait of the misery of slavery is vivid, and Parker stages one scene of plantation cruelty with a matter-of-fact horror that haunts you: A slave who refuses to eat gets his teeth hammered out, and we observe the seismic effect this has on Nat. It’s the seed of his radicalization. There are further steps in his evolution, notably the gang rape of his wife (Aja Naomi King) and the rape of Esther (Gabrielle Union), a character who never speaks. The reality that these last two atrocities add up to — that Nat has become the savior of the women around him — might be viewed as an attempt by Parker to address the lingering shadow of the 1999 allegations against him. If so, this suggests an obvious image calculation on his part.

Yet by far the most calculated aspect of “The Birth of a Nation” is the essential portrayal of Nat Turner himself. Yes, his metamorphosis from peaceful preacher to violent revolutionary is accounted for on paper, but what’s missing is the lacerating fury and obsession that drove this man to lead such a quixotic rampage. The Nat Turner of history, from what we know, was a proud outlaw with a touch of megalomania who dreamed of race war, but Parker’s Nat remains lofty and idealistic, with no inner conflicts or contradictions, no layers. Nat doesn’t execute the rebellion like someone opening death’s door. He does it like someone who’s organizing and staging a movie.

It’s that quality that winds up making “The Birth of a Nation” seem like a “cause” more than a soul-shaking drama. I went to see the movie a second time on its first evening show on Thursday night. The theater was about half full (with a roughly 50-50 mix of black and white patrons), but there was applause afterward, suggesting that many had gotten what they came for. The question going forward is: Now that it’s finally out there, can “The Birth of a Nation” have a life of its own apart from its status as an awards-bait contender, as the great hope of African-American filmmaking in the Black Lives Matter era, or as a movie that some view as forever tied to a toxic scandal? We’ll see as the weeks go forward, and as the feelings and opinions of the audience unfold. But my sense is that the word-of-mouth about “The Birth of a Nation” has already been cast, ahead of its release, as a grand series of paradigms: Which predetermined narrative slot do you think the movie falls into? And that isn’t just because those narratives are so overpowering. It’s because what’s onscreen isn’t strong enough to stand up to them.

Filed Under:

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 56

Leave a Reply


Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

  1. Aronna says:

    great movie, I think it was under rated because of all the other similar movies. Nate did an awesome job …

  2. Alison says:

    Wow your so wrong. I personally loved the movie. Actually thought it was amazing. Unlike others I was able to separate the art from the person.

  3. Seek says:

    Things whites should not say on this blog, “his slave owner was nice”. Use your common sense the word nice is very relative considering the conditions. 2. “He should not have killed women and children”. If I’m in a slave rebellion, I’m killing every women, child and man. I wI’ll not leave a master alive. I’m not going to leave not a single woman alive who sat by this injustice who can run and tell. I am leaving no child who can cry and alert others unattended. Sorry call me heartless and if a single white person takes that as evil then I say you are a fool. And I would expect the same of you, which makes me no hypocrite. 3 call it “historically inaccurate”. But if you watch a film of Columbus and him stating he discovered America you would not even question it. Have some dang respect and think outside yourselves. The movie is not supposed to be about what you want in it but it is based on a true story. Watch and you might just learn something if you could come to grips with putting yourself in another’s shoes… for once.

  4. Ezekiel Smith says:

    Question: Why Do So Many People on the So-called “Left” Attack the Film The Birth of a Nation and Discourage People from Seeing It? Answer:

  5. Ezekiel Smith says:

    I just saw it, really great movie! I can see why there is such a huge effort to bury it. For example, the reviewer hates politically the way Nat Turner is portrayed because it does not follow the standard script of Turner being all “crazy”.

  6. Willie Young II says:


  7. Steve Normal says:

    I think all folks universally have simply grown weary of the slave narrative. And I do think “12 Years A Slave” stole some of this films fire. “Birth of a Nation” didn’t bring anything new to the narrative that “12 Years” had not already covered with more poetic images.

  8. Ari Manuel says:

    ” Death Of A Notion”

  9. You can get your assignment carried out with extremely little work
    and whilst our professional essay writing service is functioning on your order, you can do anything a lot more intriguing to you.

  10. Concern US ARMY VETERAN. says:

    Why even did they have a trial?If after being found innocent,17 years later,if you were gonna treat him as if he was guilty. You people are some confussed,dumb,racist, Donald Trump like,assembling people. FUCK all you racist motherfuckers!!!!!!And double fuck them racist ass motherfuckers at the Academy Awards!!!Stick that award up your Ass!!!!And by the way,the Birth of a Nation is a great movie and was very well done by all involve!!!!!

  11. Concern US ARMY VETERAN. says:

    If I was Nate Parker, I would sue all you motherfuckers racist for slander,you jackasses,we have a court of law in this country, and the court found the young college kids innocent. Stop trying to make was guilty when he was found innocent.Was you on the college campus?How can you assume that he wasn’t falsely accused. You jackasses.

    • Charlie says:

      OJ was technically innocent in the court of law, but that didn’t stop the majority of society from ostracizing him in one way or another. If someone is tried in the court of law in this country, that simply means that he is not charged or imprisoned – that doesn’t mean society can’t decide to judge him for themselves. Our country’s foundation is rooted in this difference, so you’re being a bit short-sighted when you think people can’t form their opinions that don’t align themselves with law in this nation.

    • Ken says:

      Well regardless of whether he was found innocent or not, watch his pitiful explanation of the crime and anyone with a brain will see that he is clearly not comfortable just saying I was innocent . His veiled explanations and apparent lack of remorse is disgusting and only amplifies that he does indeed, have something to hide. If you don’t think guilty people get off i suggest you go read the transcripts of another trial People Vs O.J. Simpson. Pull your head out of your ass..

      • Cannot Believe the Cognitive Dissonance says:

        If he was found innocent, then how can he be describing a crime? Why would he show remorse if he were innocent? You have convicted him in your mind, regardless of facts. Maybe he is tired of talking about something that happened 17 years ago that a court acquitted him of. This article is a good read for you. It talks about projection, and that’s what you are doing. You are projecting your view onto him. If you have evidence, then present that, but if all you have is your perception of him acting shady, your argument is invalid.


        I bet you are a Trump supporter, ASSHOLE!!!!!

  12. Ruth J. Hodapp says:

    ​SayHello….I’a­m m­a­k­ing 8­5 bu­ck­s h­ou­rl­y f­or w­ork­­i­ng fr­­om ho­me. I n­ev­­er th­o­ug­ht th­­at i­­t wa­s­ le­­g­­it bu­t m­­­y ­be­st f­r­ie­nd­ is ea­rni­­ng 1­­0 th­­ou­­­­sa­nd do­­ll­­ar­­s a ­mo­­­n­­th b­y wo­­­rk­­in­g o­­n­­li­ne a­­nd sh­­­e r­ec­­omm­­­en­­de­­d m­­e t­­o t­r­­y i­­t. T­ry i­­t o­­ut on f­­ol­­lo­wi­­ng we­­bsi­­te, y­­­­­ou ha­­ve no­­th­in­­g t­o lo­­se…COPY AND OPEN THIS LINK====❥❥❥❥HERE :) …➥➥➥w­­w­­w­­.­­­­Z­­­­e­­­­n­­­­4­­­­6­­­­­­­­­.­­­­c­­o­­m

  13. I had my reservations going in could it live up to the hype. Yes it did. A Great Film

  14. Like it wasn’t intentional. It was an Awesome Film though. LOL well we can see anything beyond subservient. White American will not tolerate from Black people

  15. alina says:

    im almost certain that ,most of you commentators are white. Even if the storiy was somehow twisted for more drama it will give the young kids an opportunity to go out and seek the truth. i dont care how you all look at it but when one has seen and endured oppression to that extreme level ,retaliation is bound to happen, to me Nat Turner was a hero for the black people ,im not saying the kiilings were necessary all im saying if you push people too far you awaken an ugly side of them . See the movie if you want to,remember over 200 innocent black people were also killed in retaliation,say what ever you want but White people created this mess,they wanted black people to fear and loath them. I will encourage people to watch the movie and also do research on the real story of Nat Turner.

    • flamieblog says:

      White people created this mess? Not even those african individuals back in africa that were raiding other tribes and selling their own people to slavers? No they weren’t a part of this at all. Just dem honkey. It’s so funny that people slam white people for not owning history, while also blurring other parts that don’t fit with their argument.

      As quoted from: Michael Omolewa, CertificateHistory of Nigeria (Lagos, Nigeria: Longman Group, 1991), 96–103, cited in Dana Lindaman and Kyle Ward, History Lessons: How Textbooks around the World Portray U.S. History (New York: New Press, 2004), 79-83

      “Where did the supply of slaves come from? First, the Portuguese themselves kidnapped some Africans. But the bulk of the supply came from the Nigerians. These Nigerian middlemen moved to the interior where they captured other Nigerians who belonged to other communities. The middlemen also purchased many of the slaves from the people in the interior . . . . Many Nigerian middlemen began to depend totally on the slave trade and neglected every other business and occupation. The result was that when the trade was abolished [by England in 1807] these Nigerians began to protest. As years went by and the trade collapsed such Nigerians lost their sources of income and became impoverished”

      Also from: “Benin Apologizes for Role in Slave Trade,” Boston Globe, 19 April 2000; Richmond Times-Dispatch, 29 June 2003

      In 2000, at an observance attended by delegates from several European countries and the United States, officials from Benin publicized President Mathieu Kerekou’s apology for his country’s role in “selling fellow Africans by the millions to white slave traders.” “We cry for forgiveness and reconciliation,” said Luc Gnacadja, Benin’s minister of environment and housing. Cyrille Oguin, Benin’s ambassador to the United States, acknowledged, “We share in the responsibility for this terrible human tragedy.”

      Multiple accounts of this can be found if you simply do the research. Nobody wants to blame their own ancestors or ancestral countrymen for anything. It all dem white folk fault.

      • jmengele says:

        YO miss bee-yotch, since you’re recommending books while masturbating your “intellect”. so you’ve been to college? who hasn’t? well here are some more books for you to read. ha ha. you know you are not going to read any of them; you are just going to continuing trolling and writing crap. all of basil davidson, nehemiah levtzion, ira berlin, hugh thomas, andrew ward, eugene d. genovese, robinn walker, john reader. signing your post with IT ALL DEM WHITE FOLK FAULT tells a lot about you so stop bragging about all that you are reading because it is clear that you are reading NOTHING. you racist pretended to the throne. BYE–GURL

      • Jmengele says:

        You need to read more books on the subject because you glossed right over the Portuguese and went straight to the Nigerians. Do you know the Alexander Pope poem? Read it when you can. It begins: “A little learning is a dangerous thing…..”. When the whites first came to Africa to snatch slaves, they got their asses kicked and were forced to leave. But, then, they decided to PAY OFF Africans & Arabs to help them. Ever hear of Yacub? Well, these devil’s PAID off any one willing to help them obtain slaves. Having slaves was NOT an anathema to Africans because there were ALWAYS slaves, mainly those taken from the losing and warring tribes. However, once stories began to get back to these Africans of how cruel and inhumane this “white man’s slavery” had turned out to be, the Africans regretted their previous decision but it was now much too late. STOP PRETENFING THAT WHITE PEOPLE ARE SONINNOCENT IN THAT HORRENDOUS MIDDLE PASSAGE DEBACLE. And stop trying to “drop the mic” cuz that’s a Blk thing and it’s clear right now that you ain’t with US!!!!!!!?

      • flamieblog says:

        Just one more for you:

        Johnson, et al., Africans in America, 2, 5, 7; Seymour Drescher and Stanley L. Engerman, eds., A Historical Guide to World Slavery (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998), 370-375

        The white man did not introduce slavery to Africa . . . . And by the fifteenth century, men with dark skin had become quite comfortable with the concept of man as property . . . . Long before the arrival of Europeans on West Africa’s coast, the two continents shared a common acceptance of slavery as an unavoidable and necessary—perhaps even desirable—fact of existence. The commerce between the two continents, as tragic as it would become, developed upon familiar territory. Slavery was not a twisted European manipulation, although Europe capitalized on a mutual understanding and greedily expanded the slave trade into what would become a horrific enterprise . . . . It was a thunder that had no sound. Tribe stalked tribe, and eventually more than 20 million Africans would be kidnapped in their own homeland.

        *drop mic*

  16. Jane D says:

    According, to tickets sales. 51% of ticket buyers were black and black women accounted for most of these sales. Black women also pushed the sexist Straight Out Compton to record sales. Where is the self-respect? Black men like Nate Turner profit from your hard earn dollars. Black men like Nate Turner marry white women. The reason black women are close to the bottom of the feminist hierarchy (native americans across the board occupy the lowest rung)is because they cave. They continually cave to prioritizing men especially the interests black men over their own self-interests. It is sad to watch a swath of Americans invest in their own misfortune.

  17. IT--II--IT says:

    INTEL RUN Hollywood going overboard with conflict creation ops.


    AMERICA, indeed, the woirld, is set to be PULLED.

    INTER–generaitonal USURY and MAFIA have siezed our HELM.

    Their EXTERMINIST agendas are UNCLOAKING.

    NO TIME for ‘EYE CON’—jobs.

    It’s TIME to FACE and LAY HOLD the EVIL.


  18. themovievampire says:

    I’ve got to say, the “discussion” about this movie says a lot about where film criticism is today. If people over-rated the movie at Sundance because of #OscarsSoWhite that’s pretty messed up and if people are under-rating it now because of the scandal around Nate Parker that’s also messed up. I think critics need to stop getting wrapped up in media narratives around the movies they’re reviewing and maybe start reviewing about the films themselves rather than worrying about how cool that will make them look on Twitter.

  19. John S. says:

    I don’t care about Nate Parker’s past. It’s not what I think defines this movie.
    What I don’t like about this movie is how completely historically inaccurate it is.
    Nat Turner was a a deranged, blood thirsty killer that led a band of blood thirsty killers.
    His wife was not gang raped, as the film tries to suggest as to the reason why he revolted.
    In fact he had delusions that God told him to revolt and murder as many white people as possible.
    He and his band of murderers killed white families in their sleep. Women, children and elderly as well as the men. There was no final gun battle in the town square that led to his capture. He was discovered by two black men after hiding in a hole in a field for six weeks, and they apparently alerted a white man, who found Turner armed but accepted his peaceful surrender. Nat Turner told his captors that his master was a kind man that never hurt him. But Nat Turner killed him, his wife and their 3 children. Nate Parker left all of this out of the movie. In fact, murdered women and children is never mentioned in this film.
    I’ve have no problem with directors or screen writers embellishing small facts in historical movies to add some drama, but this film is nothing but a pack of lies from beginning to end.
    I’m afraid that young impressionable viewers of the film will take this narrative as the gospel truth, not knowing what really happened.

    • Seek says:

      First and foremost. SLavery is outright brutal, repugnant, and evil. You want to preach inaccurate, ha. Firstly his slave owner was not a nice guy, that’s propaganda. Masters were nice is very relative. If your parents raised you like a dog, fed you scraps, made you do all the chores keep his own kind in check, made you call him master while he called you nigga in a nice manner while your other black siblings did not get that treatent you would reconsider the word nice. The fact of the matter is his neighbor could have hung his slaves raped the boys and girls beat them daily and now the neighbor is mean in comparison. Being a slave is not fun and your master is not nice. They are your unpaid servant with no freedom and oppressed. Your rant shows your “natural” arrogance. 2nd, his story is very accurate. It was slavery and he rebelled. He killed and he used the bible. You can not say his master did not rape his wife, because sex with the slaves was not an option for the slaves. It was a very common thing, they are your property and you better believe 95 percent were raped and I don’t need to Google that. Slaves were theirs and they had no rights no record book of there rapes so to say she was not raped would not be a great hypothesis based on the things we know. Lol it would be expected. Lastly you want to downplay the movie because of violence of the slave. For crying out loud he was a slave, a violent rebellion is a necessity. Hmmmm, I’m a slave I’m going to rebel. I’m going to keep that white lady alive so she can run and tell her plantation neighbirs. Ha I’m also going to allow the baby to stay alive so they will cry and get know attention so the milk man for crying out loud can investigate. Then I’m going to expect these other negros with me to keep their composure on ms, Ms hillbilly who got my ass kicked for fun and had knowledge of the sell of my brother I have not ever seen since auction. Oh by the way that boy over there who hits me with rocks for target practice, I’m going to keep him alive to. ARE YOU NUTS! While you are at call the Jews in holocaust ungrateful bastards!

  20. Marie says:

    If the film was actually good, people would have gone to seen it (including me).

    It’s like when the whole divorce thing with Depp started; around the same time Alice TtLG premiered, his ex-wife accused him of assault. Some people love to say that because of what she said, Alice 2 wasn’t that successful. Except, the sequel was sh*tty and completely unnecessary. It didn’t even make half of what its predecessor got in the box office.

  21. Geo says:

    How much of the movie is legitimately deserving of that fulsome praise and how much of that praise is really a self congratulatory slap on the back that our society is so enlightened? I think that much of it is the later than the former. And Nate Parker is plainly one of the slimiest of slimy people that has ever made a movie, and apologetically so. This movie will not garner a single Oscar, and Nate Parker will be directing Lifetime movies.

  22. Mikey Sleev says:

    The problem with this movie is that it sells itself as some sort of successful slavery revolt that changed things when in fact all it did was make things worst for the abolitionists and the African American community as a whole.

    It could have been a great character study if they painted Nat Turner honestly as the self-centered delusional schizophrenic that he was and a history lesson on how not to make a revolt based in delusional religious ideas of messianic proportions.

    If they wanted to make a movie about a successful black slavery uprising, why not invest in a movie about the Haiti revolution, where slaves actually fought against their oppressors and won their freedom to a sovereign state? That’s a much better history lesson on the subject matter.

    • Seek says:

      It’s not about winning idiot. It’s about rebellion. Oppressed people should rebel. Period! It’s about not “accepting” injustice. It’s an untold story you whites like to hide because he would be seen as a hero. He did not win but it feels great knowing we fight in all conditions. If you were black you would understand, but you are an arrogant fool. I love the fact of knowing all my ancestors were nor uncle tom, slaves beat, saying master every second. We kicked a $$.

  23. Ceddars says:

    Can’t argue with conclusion. Film not good enough. Doesn’t transcend controversy. Full stop. It’s time we stopped over-hyping films which are not up to it and don’t do justice to their subject matter. The Brits have become specialists in the trade, looking at A United Kingdom or Suffragette. This ain’t no Spike Lee or Chantal Akerman’s.

  24. Lisa says:

    ‘Something was missing’. Yes, integrity and sincerity. Neither of which Parker will ever possess. It’s like the Devil trying to write the Bible. It just cannot happen.

  25. jimmy says:

    This film is late night TV quality. Poorly written, horribly edited, and historically inaccurate. Parker calls it “historical fiction” but it’s totally fiction. Save your time and money.

  26. Sexracist says:

    If the rape issue hadn’t destroyed the movie, its numerous factual inaccuracies and overreliance on the mythic savior narrative would do the job just fine.

    The Sundance ovation story shows just how out of touch that festival is.

  27. Lenny says:

    The expectations for this movie are out of control, or people are setting this up to fail. How is this projected to make 100M? That makes no sense. “12 Years a Slave” had a 20 million budget and multiple stars in the movie; including Brad Pitt. That movie grossed 56M.

    “Birth of a Nation”, with no stars, half the budget at 10M and a first time filmmaker should gross much less. The projections should be about 20M. This weekend it’s going to make 10M, and for the rest of it’s run it will make the rest.

    Somebody is doing bad math.

  28. Daniel says:

    And I’m sure he’ll go on to have a successful career, with people slowly forgetting about his past (alleged) criminal activity. Just look at Polanski.

  29. Daniel says:

    That’s just the sort of silly political correctness I find mind-numbing. Standing and applauding a film before you’ve seen it? Jesus Christ.

  30. BillUSA says:

    I’d love to see the data which backs up your claim; “the perception that murderous racism still thrived in America more than most of the culture was willing to admit”, you know, since anyone can just say such a thing. Not only that, as one who bases his opinions in fact, such information might sway me from my position that blacks are the greatest contributors to deaths of blacks in this country alone.

    I have absolutely no problem with anyone of any color, creed, sexual orientation or religious belief making a movie about anything. But I do mind the reasons behind the making of such a film. I don’t buy art for the purpose of aligning with (or revolting against) the creator’s political message. I will skip the work of almost every actor who opens their mouth about politics. Please note I didn’t choose a specific side. I want to see a movie and take in the performance of an actor without struggling to keep their real-life nonsense out of my head.

    But Parker is in a different category. He hijacked film making to put forth an apology for actions he was found not guilty of in the past. Despite the verdict, I cannot fathom how people equate that with him being squeaky-clean in light of the fact that he addresses/includes such an act in his movie. For those who need that explained to them, figure it out for yourself.

  31. cadavra says:

    Jeez, I wonder what the reaction would be if the jury had found him guilty.

  32. SPIKE says:

    The guy’s a schmuck. What can I say. And he got his karma: the movie tanked.

  33. lorrie marlow says:

    I’m disappointed that the writer NEVER referred to co-writer (and co-defendant-found-guilty) Jean Celestin. They bonded over their assault of a girl and are still buddies profiting from their ability to go on with their lives. (Something that she was unable to do.) I find it fascinating that although Nat Turner’s factual impetus for the uprising was a sun that appeared to have turned blue/green (and which he interpreted as a sign from God), the TWO WRITERS chose to invent A GANG RAPE OF THE WIFE as Nat’s impetus. There’s no way to not look at these TWO men and not see some interesting personal subtext at work.

  34. John says:

    The question is, will Nate Parker get another acting or directing job in Hollywood? Only time will tell.

  35. Charley says:

    But was it a good movie?

  36. Jason Stuart says:

    Maybe If you all would stop writing all these stories, people would go to the movie. Let the public decide and stop telling them what to feel. Stop telling them not to go because you want to sell papers. Write about the actors, the DP, the passion in which the film was made. Let the people decide.

More Film News from Variety