Alice is an American crime thriller directed by Kristin Ver Linden. It stars actors like Keke Palmer, Common, Gaius Charles, and Jonny Lee Miller. Actual events inspired it. It is based on slaves in the 60s and 70s who worked in plantations that were isolated. When other slaves were freed, the isolated slaves did not know about their freedom and remained in captivity for years.
“Do you, Alice take Joseph to be your husband…until ‘distance’ takes you apart” yes, I do! That was the wedding ceremony of Alice and Joseph back at their cabin at the slave house. They were both domestic staff (slaves) of Master Paul. Joseph had always fancied a life outside the slave house for himself and Alice. He was a third-generation enslaved person, and unlike his grandfather and father, he was much more adventurous. Alice was an in-house enslaved person. Her duties were to read to Mr. Paul aside from cooking for him. He taught her to read. Little did he know that that ability fueled her strong imagination and generated enough hope to believe there was something better out there. After Joseph failed to escape, it was all up to Alice to shoulder the burden of exploring the outside world alone.
She soon realized that a few miles away from her slave house was a civilization 50 years plus in the future where blacks owned businesses and had their faces in magazines. This had to be a dream that she needed to wake up from. She felt out of place in it; it was too much for some domestic staff.
Luckily for her, she meets Frank, who was an activist for black emancipation in the past. He, alongside others, protested and fought for the rights of blacks. She stumbled upon the truth that revealed her status as a free woman against the enslaved person she thought she was. And soon realized she had been free alone but was a willful enslaved person due to ignorance. Alice knew she had to go back for her family and set them free. That she did, and she kept her vow never to let “distance take them apart.” Her revenge mission was not, without Frank’s help; her main target was the slave house. She knew she had to bring an end to Mr. Paul and his likes.
The movie’s plot captured different dispensations of black people and what freedom meant to them at different times. It pointed out the emancipation proclamation of January 1, 1863, by Abraham Lincoln and the fight of black men and women to establish that truth. It also exemplified that it takes just one person to believe enough to try and keep trying until success comes. When they do, others gain libration in the process.
The costume team did an excellent job of picking out outfits and styling the actors to reflect the time the movie was depicting. As much as the movie’s plot captures different dispensations, the change felt too sudden. A lot of things were rushed and flouted. On one side was an era of enslavers and their slaves; on the other were free blacks in a society where their freedom was guaranteed. How she stumbled upon the knowledge and could use the phone so quickly was too sudden. They would have taken a different approach to achieve their goal still.
The words of Mr. Paul linger in the movie. When Alice asks him why he kept them as enslaved people when they were free, this is his response, ” I never told anyone that they had to stay; I just never told them that they could go.” He kept their bond not by cohesion but by withholding information from them. The movie portrays the journey of blacks from slavery through to when the emancipation proclamation was made and the struggle to legislate it into law.
Alice brought freedom to her husband and people by using her acquired knowledge. She makes sure Mr. Paul and his likes get what they deserve. The movie generally captures a part of black history that should not be overlooked.
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