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Mississippi Damned (2009)

 |  Drama  |  16 January 2009 (USA)
7.0
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 203 users  
Reviews: 2 user | 5 critic

Three poor Black kids in rural Mississippi reap the consequences of their family's cycle of abuse, addiction, and violence.

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Cast

Credited cast:
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Junior
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Delores
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Jossie Thacker ...
Charlie
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Anna (as Simbi Kali Williams)
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Tyrone
Chasity Kershal Hammitte ...
Leigh
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Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
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Milena
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James
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Gloria
Southey Blanton ...
Irv
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Ray
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Storyline

Three poor Black kids in rural Mississippi reap the consequences of their family's cycle of abuse, addiction, and violence.

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child abuse | See All (1) »

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Wanting to escape was the easy part.

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Drama

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16 January 2009 (USA)  »

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Did You Know?

Trivia

The movie's title is a reference to the song 'Mississippi Goddam', which was written and most famously recorded by Nina Simone. Simone wrote the song in 1963 as a protest against the racial injustices that inspired the civil rights movement, especially the assassination of Medgar Evers in Jackson, Mississippi, on June 12, 1963, and the Klan-set bomb that blew up the 16th Street Baptist Church and killed four little girls in Birmingham, Alabama, on September 15, 1963. Simone famously performed the song in front of tens of thousands of people at the third Civil Rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, in 1965. The chorus of the song is, "Alabama's got me so upset; Tennessee's made me lose my rest; and everybody knows about Mississippi goddamn!" See more »

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User Reviews

 
Better than 12 Years a Slave
24 November 2013 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

After screening Mississippi Damned at Chicago International Film Fest in 2009, I took these notes.

The survival of blacks—the community is oppressed in ghetto like conditions. The small shanty Southern town could be a prison setting. Family and community members turn on one another—use, abuse one another, generation after generation. Alcohol provides a relief of momentarily sorts; nourishment for children is scarce, as are jobs, housing, etc. There is no way out apparently.

A poignant subplot: Shaking, a lesbian, mesmerized by a love that can't possibly be returned. Still, she clings to what she sees as her one chance at salvation, a crush with a girl who is bisexual. Even as she clings, she almost knows it's not going to work out; perhaps preferring madness in the face of the life before her in hell.

There's no way out. Except a glimmer of perseverance that comes from the youngest daughter. Even so, when she does get enough together for an escape, she either miss-lends it, or receives money she cannot in conscience accept from the brother who sexually abused her when she was 6. Her aunt provides some relief with encouragement to play piano, and eventually a $25,000 check. At about age 18, the girl does make a determination to leave, but only after the same aunt sits down on her hard: "Do not let your generosity of spirit keep you here. Go. You have the opportunity. You don't want to live here amongst us, die amongst us without hope." (Paraphrased)

The film is an exceptional depiction of what I can only describe as a concentration camp of poverty.

And even if offered light, what would the husband of the aunt do? She is loving, a refuge for children, a pillar for shelter and nourishment. He, the husband treats her with the utmost contempt, a symbol of bullying and abuse of all stripes. She is the light. And he refuses to see it, indeed almost kills her, but for a threat from her Mama, shotgun in hand.

And yet in the hopeless, grim, violent, addict occupied prison, the director has returned to her roots and captured a film that sheds light and possibly healing. (All actors with few minor roles, were cast from LA!)

I am inspired to post this review after having just seen "12 Years a Slave." Though I find the intentions, star power, historical accuracy of "Slave" to be beyond reproach — and I do not wish to undermine the enthusiasm and recognition for Steve McQueen's vision and direction of his film — I find "Mississippi Damned," low budget indie that it is, a far more compelling and haunting film. Thank you writer / director Tina Mabry with all my heart.


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