The educational brilliance of ‘The Harder They Fall’
A colorism tweet and Easter Egg made me like the film even more
Three times and counting — that’s the amount of times I’ve watched “The Harder They Fall” since it released on Netflix on November 3rd. Then I went down the rabbit hole of interviews, watching everything from Regina King try to cut another apple in one long slice to her and Idris Elba debate about who won Connect 4. I thought seeing Idris Elba in “Concrete Cowboys” was enough of a Western-style flick to satisfy me, but I was not ready for the brilliance that was “The Harder They Fall.”
I blinked back tears when I saw the Easter Egg that is “C.A. Boseman” on the side of the train car as King walked by (an ode to the late actor Chadwick Aaron Boseman). I smiled at the sight of these heavy hitters — Jonathan Majors, Idris Elba, Zazie Beetz, Regina King, Lakeith Stanfield and Deon Cole. I didn’t know much about Danielle Deadwyler, but I did recognize Edi Gathegi solely because I wanted him to get rid of anything in Team Jacob’s way, including all of Team Edward. (“Twilight” fans will understand that line.) This film was not only a tale I wanted to listen to but a sight to behold.
But as with any good movie, I knew there would be someone to critique it and I tried ignoring the gripes at first. However, there were a series of tweets that first rubbed me wrong — and then didn’t. It was about Stagecoach Mary. In the film, Mary is played by Zazie Beetz (popularly known as Van in Donald Glover’s TV series “Atlanta”). The movie critics’ issue with the film is the real Stagecoach Mary is a dark-skinned, heavyset woman, not the light-skinned, hourglass-figured actress that plays her.
I shook my head at the complaints, first counting off the laundry list of melanin-rich women who were featured in the movie outside of the star cast lineup. The way these folks were grumbling about it, you’d have thought it was easier to find Waldo than it was to find dark-skinned black women of varying shapes throughout the film. (It was not.) Is it too much to ask that this very talented actress get the role — who played the shit out of the role — even though she wasn’t dark enough?