‘Amend’ review: Will Smith brings a star-studded touch to the 14th Amendment’s tumultuous history
“Amend” utilizes several approaches in bringing that history to life and strongly linking it to the fights of the 21st century, with the increase of extremist forces rooted in white supremacy. Those narrative wrinkles consist of animation and significant readings, with an ostentatious list of stars like Mahershala Ali and Samuel L. Jackson providing the words of Frederick Douglass and Martin Luther King Jr., respectively.
The early episodes take a deep dive into Restoration, the increase of Ku Klux Klan and the Jim Crow period setting up a type of “legal apartheid,” as NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund president Sherrilyn Ifill notes.
The timeliest product charts a direct course from the racial reaction then into the heart of contemporary politics, detailing the significance of the Supreme Court in codifying (and later on reversing) discrimination, using “home-grown American terrorism” versus African-Americans and the degree to which violence was utilized to install “a political counter-revolution against Reconstruction,” as historian David Blight discusses.
The task likewise mentions the erection of Confederate monoliths and efforts to glamorize slavery as “the lost cause” not just in Southern legislatures however in motion pictures and media, from “The Birth of a Nation” through “Gone With the Wind.”
The 4th chapter segues from civil liberties to growth of 14th Change defenses to ladies — “stepchildren” of the change as initially prepared — followed by marital relationship and immigrants, consisting of an especially wrenching take a look at the Chinese Exemption Act in 1882.
“Amend” is a substantial endeavor in its scope, and the lineup of star skill put together is remarkable and diverse. The one bad move depends on Smith’s modest shifts, which appear customized to a school-age audience. Given, it would be fantastic if kids seen this, however the “Schoolhouse Rock” tone he embraces feels out of action with the other voices informing this story.
Netflix however should have significant credit for providing its muscle to this civics-minded workout and developing a house for such fare beyond PBS.
“Amend” shines a light on America’s history of inequality, and the 150-year-plus battle to treat that as it has actually played out in the courts and the streets. It’s a suggestion that protecting the defenses approved by the 14th Change — like America itself — stays quite a work in development.
“Amend: The Fight for America” premieres Feb. 17 on Netflix.
Jobber Wiki author Frank Long contributed to this report.