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Parents' Guide to

Dear White People

By S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 17+

Satire offers insightful, very edgy look at race relations.

Movie R 2014 106 minutes
Dear White People Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 16+

Based on 3 parent reviews

age 17+

The show is much better...but the show came out later!

It was such an odd experience watching this movie, because I devoured all 2 seasons of the "DWP" TV show, which naturally goes much more in depth with all the characters presented here, but also pays great homage to the show. It was such a conflicting experience. If you're stuck between wanting to watch the show or the movie, I would actually stick with the show. While this movie is a great satire on the hypocritical nature of people who deem themselves race experts on BOTH sides, the show gets way more into it.

This title has:

Great messages
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
age 15+

A much-needed movie, both in terms of themes and execution.

More movies like this need to be made, and this is just one of the many reasons why I'm very excited for writer/director Justin Simien. His talent extends beyond comedic timing and balance between humor and slides into his true intelligence. This movie could have easily been angry, but instead it's realistic and sensitive. Not only is this a much needed discussion on race relations and the subject's continued relevancy, but it's about identity. The script succeeds in following many characters that don't always directly interact while not feeling disjointed. Its jokes are strong and hit nine times out of ten, and the characters are sometimes aware of the material's humor. Other than about seven minutes of pacing issues at around the one hour mark, the direction is consistent and very good at carrying different tones. The acting is very strong; I had only really known Tyler James Williams from Everybody Hates Chris (such a good show) and the Allstate guy, but everyone is solid here. The real standout here, though, is Tessa Thompson. Despite playing the most in-your-face and opinionated character, she's never annoying or condescending and gives depth that gives insight into her personality. Dear White People is a rarity, being a directorial debut that succeeds humorously and dramatically. Its social commentary is effective and never overbearing. While some characters may be angry, the movie never is. Sign me up for Simien's next work. 9/10, amazing, two thumbs up, far above average, etc.

This title has:

Great messages
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (3 ):
Kids say (2 ):

Writer-director Justin Simien's Dear White People is exhilarating for two main reasons. First, it's ripe with ideas and enthusiastic about sharing them, but without the dogma that sometimes keeps audiences at a remove. Second, it's bold, unburdened by a narrative frame -- the storytelling jumps to and fro with ease. Astute social and cultural observations arrive wrapped up in witty dialogue and hyper-kinetic scenes. The action and conversations move so fast that boredom isn't an option.

Some may say it's too hyperactive for its own good, and they're not wholly wrong. At times, you want Simien to linger a little on the punch lines and epiphanies before adding another layer. But it's still exciting to watch. Dear White People is in-your-face moviemaking that demands your attention. It deserves it. It deals with weighty subjects confidently and reminds us that we need to talk about race relations -- and not gingerly. It's good satire because its bite carries the pain of truth.

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