Big Words: A Movie You Must See

Neil Drumming's new film is a must-see for those disappointed with African-American visibility in shows like Mad Men and Girls.
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Last year, Neil Drumming blogged for The Atlantic about making his first film. The movie -- Big Words -- is now complete. It premieres tonight in New York. Here is the The Times on Neil's film:

Weaving race, class, sexual orientation and politics -- as well as the evolution of rap music -- into a wistful tapestry of male disaffection, the film's writer and director, Neil Drumming, introduces three not-so-young men whose friendship fell apart 15 years earlier along with their rising hip-hop group....

As Mr. Drumming's whip-smart screenplay effects an uncomfortable group reunion, the film's playlike structure and relaxed rhythms perfectly frame conversations infused with pre-gentrification memories and music industry nostalgia. Throughout, his droll, insightful dialogue has a natural pop and sway that the actors clearly relish -- especially Yaya Alafia, magnificent as a coolly self-possessed dancer who sees right through John's smoke screen of apathy.

Warmly photographed by Cliff Charles, "Big Words" is an engrossing, coming-of-middle-age drama that shows how disappointment can fester and derail a life. By the end, hope and change seem possible but far from guaranteed.

It will come as no surprise that I wholly agree. Every single African-American who ever complained about not seeing "us" in all our complexity on shows like Girls or Mad Men has a moral obligation to see this film. You must tell your stories. Other people will not do it for you.

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Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle. More

Born in 1975, the product of two beautiful parents. Raised in West Baltimore -- not quite The Wire, but sometimes ill all the same. Studied at the Mecca for some years in the mid-'90s. Emerged with a purpose, if not a degree. Slowly migrated up the East Coast with a baby and my beloved, until I reached the shores of Harlem. Wrote some stuff along the way.

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