A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Offers viewers plenty to talk about in reconsidering all the ways that racism has persisted in the decades since the official end of slavery. Encourages viewers to find the courage, compassion, and hope necessary to oppose this pervasive impact.
Positive Role Models
Causey shows a certain amount of bravery, both in making this movie and appearing in it -- questioning the values she was raised with, asking questions, looking for solutions. But she is not the center of the movie.
Violence & Scariness
Images of aftermath of bloody shooting; blood and dead bodies shown. Images of hanged bodies. Reference to suicide. Descriptions of slave beatings and whippings. Disturbing images of slavery and slave torture devices.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Brief nudity in illustrations.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Long Shadow is a documentary that traces racism in America from the days of slavery through today. It looks at everything from laws and polices that were intended to keep black people down to violent, hate-fueled incidents. Director Frances Causey is a white Southern woman who has begun questioning the norms of her youth. Expect to see disturbing images of violence, including the aftermath of a shooting -- with dead bodies and blood -- as well as images of slavery: hanged bodies, and torture devices. There are also descriptions of beatings and whippings and a mention of suicide, and a brief illustration of naked slaves is shown. It's powerful, and can be seen as a good companion piece to Ava DuVernay's 13th. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This film definitely brings Ava DuVernay's similar 13th to mind, but, because Causey's documentary is both eye-opening and hauntingly personal, there's room for both of these powerful works. Some might question whether a white woman has the right to tell a story about racism -- especially a white woman from the South whose family used black servants and whose ancestors owned slaves. And those questions are certainly valid. But it's also brave of Causey to admit to her feelings of doubt and outrage. She comes across as compassionate and honest, and her efforts feel admirable.
Despite the film's throughline, so similar to 13th, that traces American history and race from the end of slavery through the turbulent civil rights movement and up to today, The Long Shadow easily finds plenty of fresh ground to cover. Causey has good access to the southern regions of the United States and records many personal stories. Her interviewees are a mix of African American and white experts, all of whom contribute equally to the film's thesis. Causey traces the effects of slavery all the way up to a recent incident of hatred and racism on the factory floor at Lockheed Martin. Yet she ends the movie seemingly changed and still hopeful that humans' goodness can prevail.
Did we miss something on diversity?
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