This is a different "review" for me as I was honored to be the still photographer on the set of "Emanuel". Movies *usually look really cool, but the unrelenting grind of filmmaking is so real. It's hard to explain. And watching it up close and living through it (even for just a week) makes you realize you need more than just skills to be a filmmaker. You need incredible passion and vision, a story really worth telling, a team that will go anywhere with you, and a heck of a lot of miracles along the way. This team, led by Brian Ivie, showed what it takes to make something great. It was inspiring to watch them go to work every day and I commend every one of them for a job well done in honoring the family members of the Emanuel 9. You should know, all the producer's proceeds go back to the family members of the victims. Don't miss this movie.
The interviewees were so transparent, their hearts are on every frame. Equally, the historians and leaders at the time in South Carolina and in our nation, showcase the true heart of our country. Although darkness seemed to have won that day, it doesn't get the last word. The film is constantly bringing us through the tension that we all must face in forgiving our enemy (albeit this is to the furthest degree, forgiving your family member's murderer). It begs many questions from us as an audience, and it doesn't leave everything in a perfect bow. Because of time constraints and the focus of the film, it doesn't address gun laws or mental health issues - as if racism and forgiving your enemy weren't hard enough themes. I don't expect people to easily watch this film. There's nothing easy about it, but the importance of the film cannot be overstated. I strongly believe we must tell stories like this to show the reality and depravity of the human condition, yet the overwhelming goodness that Love can make in our lives and those around us. This story was told because Love gets the last word.