Wow, what a surprise! This movie will go down as a masterpiece. Part truth and part fiction, it’s filled with hate but rich in history of the shameful past of this country’s treatment of Blacks and determination to keep slaves as indentured servants for as long as they live. Free State of Jones is inspired by the life of Newton Knight (Matthew McConaughey) a poor farmer who lead a rebellion against the Confederacy in Jones County, Mississippi during the Civil War. Jones’ army consisted of deserters and run away slaves creating a mixed race community. Included in that community, was Rachel (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) a former slave who later became Newton’s wife and Moses Washington (Mahershala Ali) an escaped slave who became a major player in Knight’s rebellion. Before Newton started his rebellion, he served in the war for a year, then deserted when his nephew was drafted and killed. The film brings you through the Civil War and beyond the Emancipation and the KKK to a trial in the 1940’s that accuses and convicts one of Newton’s grandsons of being 1/8 Black and as such, places him in violation of the law that doesn’t allow a Black man to marry a White women in Mississippi, where he and his wife lived.
You won’t get warm fuzzes watching Free State of Jones, quite the opposite. From bloody torn limbs of men shot up in battle to the hanging, raping and mutilation of slaves, the picture is pretty grim. You will get to see 2 hours and 19 minutes of a really great movie that holds nothing back about the Civil War, Emancipation, the Monolithic South, and Reconstruction. This is great story telling by Leonard Hartman and Gary Ross who also has done an excellent job of directing this movie. The acting is brilliant as this may be Matthew at his best. Strangely, there is a resemblance between the real Newton Knight and Matthew McConaughey, as shown. I highly recommend Free State of Jones. It’s one of the best films I’ve seen this year. I expected an almost empty auditorium instead, only the first row was available plus a few seats here and there. It’s more than worth your time and money to see it.
NOTE: Gary Ross along with The Huffington Post have documented why the world or at least the US should see this film. It tells the truth as well as disperse 4 myths about the Civil War and slavery. The following was taken directly from the Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/amb-andrew-j-young/free-state-of-jones_2_b_10704230.html “Free State of Jones also tells the truth about Reconstruction. It does not indulge the mythology that simple emancipation at war’s end meant true freedom. Far from it. It is perhaps the first film to show the bitter disappointment in the post-war years as the jubilation of victory gave way to the harsh reality that Confederates would return to power, institute sharecropping instead of slavery, penal servitude instead of simple servitude and the “apprenticeship” of minor children instead of more blatant “ownership.” When some in Congress tried to fight these events, the Ku Klux Klan rose up in force and there was no Northern will to combat it. So it is all the more remarkable that a white southern farmer stood up to this oppression even after the war when so many of his contemporaries would not.”
KNOWLEDGE IS A POWERFUL THING, AS IS THE TRUTH!
Note: Any fiction altered the actual words spoken but not the historical events!