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The Good Lord BirdThe Good Lord Bird

The Good Lord Bird

A buried abolitionist tale is resurrected and given its due in this whirlwind account of America’s dark past

Drama, Western

best
THE VERY BEST

8.5

show

United States of America
English
A-list actors, Action-packed, Challenging
2020
Beau Knapp, Daveed Diggs, Ellar Coltrane
50 min

Synopsis

rotten tomatoes
imdb
wikipedia
Enslaved teenager Henry Shackleford, aka Little Onion, becomes a member in abolitionist John Brown’s motley family during the Bleeding Kansas era before the Civil War.

Our Take

8.5
The Staff

It’s often said that history is told by the victors. Thankfully, this isn’t the case in The Good Lord Bird, which tracks the tumultuous events preceding the Civil War, as led by real-life abolitionist John Brown (Ethan Hawke). 

Some viewers might already be familiar with the story of how Brown “saved” slaves, but with Black teenager Henry (Joshua Caleb Johnson) as the narrator, history is repositioned and recounted through a fresh new lens. Nuanced questions about slavery, abolition, and even the revered Brown himself are brought up by Henry and his kin, such as: how much of the movement is driven by justice and how much of it by guilt? Should the white savior be absolved or are his intentions inevitably marred by ego?

Accompanying this thought-provoking tale are richly detailed costumes and backdrops, impressive cameos by historical and celebrity figures, and of course, career-defining performances by Hawke and newcomer Johnson. 

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