The movie that made us laugh, cry (twice), and almost wet ourselves because it is two and a half hours long.
Right off the top, the casting was incredible and the opening scene gives perfect characterization to all three women that follows them throughout the movie. We see each deal with their own struggle and problems, although Taraji P. Henson probably got the most screen time (and we weren’t complaining–it was an award winning performance), but we would have gladly risked another five minute of the movie to have seen more of Janelle Monáe in her killing it in her biggest role to date, or to have seen Octavia Spencer bring it on with Kirstin Dunst again. [See what we did there?]
This movie risked being a snooze, with the outcome being spoiled by being a part of history, but it kept drawing in the audience by layering in another set of problems just when one would be seemingly resolved. We won’t spoil it, but even the minor romantic subplot fit in well, wasn’t forced, and even came full circle into minor scenes no one saw coming. It even pulls itself off the ledge of feeling too fairytale-esque by not having a fully 100% happy ending.
Don’t miss your chance to see this in theaters. While the acting is superb and a few of Taraji’s scenes made us misty-eyed, there was nothing more moving about this movie than hearing the old man behind us cheer for these women when they succeeded and groan at their setbacks. Knowing this man, and some of the people around us were alive during the events of the movie, and had seen similar struggles first hand, maybe experienced some for themselves, or possibly been a part of the obstacles these women had to overcome added instant perspective and amplified any warm feelings of triumph inspired by the film.
Of course, nothing is perfect and we could’ve lived without a lot of the historical footage, or filters on the non-historic footage to make some scenes less comically jarring and more cohesive.
Also, we almost have to wonder if the length of the movie was intentional to make us all uncomfortable and squirm to relate to a certain character’s struggle.