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.
More

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.

Jump to comments
Presented by

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.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

Adventures in Legal Weed

Colorado is now well into its first year as the first state to legalize recreational marijuana. How's it going? James Hamblin visits Aspen.


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Adventures in Legal Weed

Colorado is now well into its first year as the first state to legalize recreational marijuana. How's it going? James Hamblin visits Aspen.

Video

What Makes a Story Great?

The storytellers behind House of CardsandThis American Life reflect on the creative process.

Video

Tracing Sriracha's Origin to Thailand

Ever wonder how the wildly popular hot sauce got its name? It all started in Si Racha.

Video

Where Confiscated Wildlife Ends Up

A government facility outside of Denver houses more than a million products of the illegal wildlife trade, from tigers and bears to bald eagles.

Video

Is Wine Healthy?

James Hamblin prepares to impress his date with knowledge about the health benefits of wine.

Video

The World's Largest Balloon Festival

Nine days, more than 700 balloons, and a whole lot of hot air

Writers

Up
Down

More in Entertainment

From This Author

Just In