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Friday, November 13, 2009

Prom Night In Mississippi

Prom Night In Mississippi - A KinoSmith Release


Release Date: November 13th, 2009 (Toronto)

Rated PG

Running time: 89 minutes

Paul Saltzman (dir.)

Featuring Morgan Freeman

Our reviews below:


Prom Night In Mississippi Review By John C.

*** (out of 4)

In 2008, Charleston High School in Mississippi, had their first racially integrated prom. But it took the generous donations of Morgan Freeman, and the planning of the students. And still, some parents were very against the idea.

While the documentary is fairly short, it could have been a bit shorter. But this hardly matters. In the end, it’s powerful message of acceptance shines through. The young people want change, they’re just afraid to ask for it.

Director Paul Saltzman does a good job of capturing the planning and the prom, and includes interesting interviews with the students, their parents, and Morgan Freeman. This is a well made documentary, that’s worth seeing no matter who you are or what your background is.


Prom Night In Mississippi Review By Erin V.

***1/4 (out of 4)

In Charleston, Mississippi, the local highschool had never had an integrated prom, that is, those of all races together. In 1998, Morgan Freeman approached the school, and said that he would pay for the prom, if it was integrated. They declined. In 2008, he asked again. This time, they accepted...

Though it was finally going to happen, there were still some against it, mainly parents, who still wanted to have their own ‘white’ prom alongside it. This film documents the first integrated prom there, as well as shows us some of the lead up to it. Prom Night in Mississippi consists of interviews with various students, some who, while they agree with the integrated prom, had to have their identity concealed, due to the fact that their parents are racist.

It is an interesting film, and a surprising one too. You don’t really think about the fact that even now, there are still places in North America that don’t except everyone as the same, just because of skin colour. I think it’s an important film, and one that would be worth seeing.


Prom Night In Mississippi Review By Nicole

*** (out of 4)

In 2008, a high school in the small town of Charleston, Mississippi held it's first integrated prom.. Yes, you read that right: in 2008. When Charleston native Morgan Freeman heard that a local high school still held separate proms for the black and white kids, he decides to visit the school and make a change. All the kids want integration: the white parents are another matter. They want nothing to do with integration, and they don't want their children to mix. However, despite the hurdles, the school managed to put together a fully integrated prom.

Prom Night in Mississippi is a thought provoking, inspiring film with a lot of heart. This documentary would be a good choice to show in high schools.


Prom Night In Mississippi Review By Maureen

*** (out of 4)

When Morgan Freeman learns that his hometown of Charleston, Mississippi still holds separate black proms and white proms he proposes an alternative. The result is a mixed prom night sponsored by Freeman and a really interesting documentary.

"Prom Night in Mississippi" follows the students, school officials and parents as they weigh the pros and cons of the proposed prom. It's interesting to see the racial attitudes and misunderstandings that still exist in some parts but especially nice to see the mostly positive enthusiasm of the students towards the mixed prom.

The film follows the students as they get ready for their big night and stays with the students night through the event. The students in the film are really no different from any other group of teenagers getting ready for prom night. What makes this group different is their dealing openly with racial attitudes. My favourite couple in the documentary is the one mixed race couple. They are so sweet in their young love and hope for their future together.

"Prom Night in Mississippi" would make a good social studies film to show in high schools. General audiences will also find this a nice documentary to watch.


Prom Night In Mississippi Review By Tony

*** (out of 4)

Prom Night in Mississippi is a documentary about the first integrated high school prom (in 2008!) in the town of Charleston, MS (pop. 2100). By no means the last southern community to keep it, Charleston may never have broken with the tradition of segregated proms if it were not the hometown of Morgan Freeman who offered to pay for the prom if the students (with the support of school officials) would organize it against parental objections. Even this might not have happened without the pitch from an outsider, not a yankee but Canadian director Paul Saltzman, himself locked up briefly back in the day of civil rights protests, who encouraged Morgan Freeman to try again with his sweetened offer eleven years after a previous brushoff. Freeman’s no-nonsense common sense approach as he addresses the students is particularly moving.

As the students preparing for the prom are interviewed we can be lulled into thinking how typically banal the story is. The rival all-white prom attended by a relative few is only shown in drawings, since the organizers chose not to participate in the film, as stated by their lawyer. One of their kids appearing in silhouette admits to parental threats. The black parents appear to be in favour, though some of them also feel intimidated by memories of lynchings. The courage shown particularly by white girls with male black friends bodes well for the next generation. After all the potential conflict, the actual prom is anticlimactic, which is just as well.


Consensus: *** (Out of 4)

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