Taraji P. Henson Fights For Integrated Schools In “The Best Of Enemies”
Taraji P. Henson is back on the big screen with another period piece which displays the history of racial injustice in America.
Henson stars along Academy Award winner Sam Rockwell in The Best of Enemies, a movie that tells the story of Ann Atwater (played by Henson), a Black civil rights activist who takes on Klu Klux Klan leader C.P. Ellis (played by Rockwell) in the fight for desegregation in Durham, North Carolina.
The film shows the gradual relationship between Atwater and Ellis as they are both tapped by the city council to co-chair an integration committee after a local elementary school for Black children burns down in the summer of 1971.
The Best of Enemies shows the tension during the turbulent summer after numerous race fights broke out among Black and white students across the city. Though Brown vs. Board of Education ruling happened 17 years prior in 1954, many schools across the country remained segregated. Durham was no different.
In one tense scene Atwater and Ellis argue over the usage of the Bible in propping up white supremacy. While waving the good book in Ellis’ face Atwater says, “Well, then, you ought to know, same God made you made me.”
In the trailer Henson and Rockwell do deep dives into their respective characters, fully embodying their personas. Atwater, a respected member of the Durham community until her death in 2016, was known to be direct and aggressive in advocating for equality. Ellis was also well-known in the community but for staunchly different reasons, and the two often times came head to head during city council meetings.
The film also stars Babou Ceesay, Anne Heche, Wes Bentley, Nick Searcy, John Gallagher Jr., and Bruce McGill. Director Robin Bissell adapted the script from Osha Gray Davidson’s 2007 book.
Best of Enemies is slated to premiere on April 5, 2019.
Watch the full trailer above.