Alice (2022) 

When Alice reaches her breaking point for the last time, she runs from the plantation on which she has been a slave her entire life. When she reaches the furthest tree line, she discovers there is much more to the world that was hidden from her than she could ever have thought. 

Written and directed by Krystin Ver Linden, the film takes on slavery and civil rights head on, bringing to the screen a story based on true events. This is an important film, especially for people who think slavery is a far in the past happening. This is the kind of film that can open conversations and even be a helpful teaching tool. It is also a rather entertaining film at the same time, crafted carefully and with plenty talent involved. The film takes a hard story to tell, doesn’t skimp on the hard stuff, and makes it a touching story with a fiery lead. This makes the film a must-see and one that is worth seeking out for the writing and directing alone, but those two parts of filmmaking here are not the only ones worth seeing the film for. 

The acting from lead Keke Palmer is powerful and on point. She plays Alice as a woman hurt and abused who finds her power and voice in a way that changes things no only for herself. Playing the man who helps her while not entirely understanding is Common as Frank. Here, the film is not about him and while he tends to steal scenes at times, he works in a way shows this film is about Alice and he is here to support her. His character is very much set in the film’s time period and he is the anchor at times, giving Common a good part to work with. Playing the slave owner is Jonny Lee Miller who is almost unrecognizable in his first few minutes on screen. This is not a nice part; this is a mean character who seems to enjoy owning other people and treating them like less than dirt. Miller gives a strong performance here and pretty much completely disappears into his role. As a testament to the strong script and direction are all the performances here as they all show talent, dedication, and a unity in making this film the best it can be. 

Supporting these performances are the production design by Gregory A. Weimerskirch, the set decoration by Laura Wallgren, the costumer design by Karyn Wagner, the makeup and hair departments’ work. These all come together to set the time period perfectly and give the viewer a world to immerse into, may it be at the plantation or after Alice flees. These elements really all work strongly together to make this a film that knows its era and knows how to bring it to the screen. 

Alice is a powerful film filled with passionate performances, particularly by Keke Palmer. The film gathers a lot of talented people behind and in front of the camera to create a carefully-crafted film that is of importance. There is a history lesson that all must learn if they have not yet here, one that sadly too many people seem to still need. This film brings to the forefront true events that will surprise many viewers and even shock some. There are important facts here that make this a heavier film to watch, but one that needs to be viewed and used to start a conversation about these events and how they could be allowed. While not perfect, this is an entertaining take on a hard subject, one that should help open the way for more people to learn about this.