“Speaking on behalf of the entire country, we weren’t massively impressed by the whole presidential election. That was a bit of a bummer. But that’s going on everywhere,” said Carey Mulligan half-jokingly when asked how the British view America’s history of racial inequality during a Q&A for her new Netflix film “Mudbound.” Watch her discuss her impressions of this story above.
Mulligan plays Laura McAllan, who finds herself suddenly uprooted after husband (Jason Clarke) decides to buy farmland in rural Mississippi during the Jim Crow era in the 1940s. Her family’s life then intersects with a black family of sharecroppers, the Jacksons, who work the land. A story like this remains relevant in an era when the alt-right have brought white supremacy back to the forefront of public consciousness.
“For me this period of history was something I didn’t know very much about or hadn’t really given much thought to. That’s on me, but also on my education,” Mulligan explained. “It struck me when I read the script that I couldn’t remember seeing an image of a black man fighting in the Second World War.” Now the film features a storyline in which a young black man, Ronsel Jackson (Jason Mitchell), becomes a hero at war but returns to the US as a second-class citizen.
“I think it’s going to be a great moment of awareness,” but she doesn’t want “Mudbound” to be considered just a a history lesson. “I don’t want to talk about it as being ‘important’ because that makes it sound dull. First and foremost, this is a great film about characters and people and community … [Director Dee Rees] never set out to make a message movie. She made a story about people, and that’s why it’s so successful.”
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