Writer-director Justin Simien satirises race relations in modern-day America in this comedy drama set on the campus of Winchester University.
Sam White (Tessa Thompson) is a student at the university and frequently causes friction with her radio show, Dear White People, which highlights the racist behaviour of staff and students.
She stands for election as the head of her house against her ex-boyfriend Troy Fairbanks (Brandon Bell), who just happens to be the son of the Dean (Dennis Haysbert). Sam wins the contest and her victory inspires a piece in the university newspaper penned by a black gay student called Lionel Higgins (Tyler James Williams).
In retaliation, one of the white students, Kurt (Kyle Gallner), proposes a politically incorrect blackface theme for attendees to a campus party.
When the black students learn of the plan, they protest and spark ugly scenes between the two factions.
Stunning writing from Simien creates a dialogue of cutting social observations and brutal comedy.
Only rarely do the characters sound like mouthpieces – and when they do, you’re too entertained by what they’re saying to mind.
Dear White People, Simien’s first feature, takes what could easily be mistaken for the observations of a stand up comedian and turns them into the life of his sharp and witty characters.
Only rarely do they sound like mouthpieces – and when they do, you’re too enthralled and entertained by what they’re saying to mind.