With her upcoming film Till, Nigerian-American director Chinonye Chukwu subverts the true story’s narrative, which has been historically centered in trauma and heartbreak, by instead centering on the resilience of a mother’s love that moves the nation. The tale of Emmett Till, a 14-year-old boy fatally lynched in mid-20th century Mississippi, has been rewritten to give a voice to the previously unacknowledged Black woman behind the movement for justice that ascended behind his unjust murder.
“The crux of this story is not about the traumatic, physical violence inflicted upon Emmett, which is why I refused to depict such brutality in the film — but it is about Mamie’s remarkable journey in the aftermath,” Chukwu said in a statement, hinting at Hollywood’s history of exploiting Black trauma for commodification and assuring viewers that this will not be a factor in the film.
By focusing on Emmett’s mother, Mamie Till-Mobley (Danielle Deadwyler), Till offers a unique point of view — that of a mother who fearlessly fights to ensure her son’s name will not be forgotten. The trailer promises a humanistic approach to the Emmett Till story through its representation of familial affection and strength.
Chukwu makes a promise to viewers that this narrative will begin and end in a place of joy. In an attempt to reshape figures whose legacies have been fixed in victimization, this portrayal strives to repay their humanity through storytelling that values the emotional embrace of Black life, loss, and love.
The film, written by Michael Reilly, Keith Beauchamp, and Chukwu, will also star Jalyn Hall, Frankie Faison, Haley Bennett, and Whoopi Goldberg.
Till will make its debut in select theaters Oct. 14. and everywhere Oct. 28.