Will Smith stars in "Emancipation"; actor hopes film will be properly praised despite his behavior

Sandy Kenyon Image
Friday, December 2, 2022
Can Will Smith's newest film "Emancipation" redeem him?
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Will Smith stars in "Emancipation", a movie about slavery set in the Civil War era. Smith hopes the film will be praised despite his recent behavior. Sandy Kenyon has the story.

More than nine months have passed since Will Smith slapped Chris Rock in front of hundreds of millions of people at the Oscars, and since then, Smith has apologized.

He told Trevor Noah this week that the incident was a "horrific decision", adding he "just lost it."

Those remarks were aired just before the release of his new movie, "Emancipation" on Friday, and there are many questions about how it will be received.

Smith calls his latest film a "masterpiece" and hopes his actions at the Oscars won't overshadow the achievement of so many others, chief among them: Director Antoine Fuqua.

One can only hope the public will be willing to give "Emancipation" a chance because it is by far the best movie I have seen this year. It is gripping, exciting, and so meaningful that everyone should go see it.

The film is inspired by a real person brutalized so bad that a photo of his scarred back brought home the horrors of slavery, in the middle of the Civil War.

Smith's appearance here makes it easier to forget the slap heard around the world, and concentrate on the harsh challenges his character faces throughout the movie.

The movie begins with the forced separation from his family and continues with him forced to help the Confederate army build a railroad. There, he confronts evil in the form of Ben Foster's character.

Upon hearing the Union army is nearby, Pete makes a run for it and the exciting chase that follows makes for a thrilling couple of hours.

This is not one of those earnest movies to suffer through because someone has told you, "Hey, this will be good for you to see."

It's an action movie featuring one of the world's most charismatic stars made by a guy who knows how to keep you on the edge of your seat.

"Emancipation" also brought the Civil War alive for me like never before, and coming face to face with slavery in this manner was a transformative experience.

The reviews so far have not been that great, and I suspect that has more to do with the lingering disapproval of Will Smith than it does with the actual movie on-screen.

The film itself is essential and demands to be seen. If you're willing to give this movie a chance, you will be richly rewarded.

"Emancipation" deserves to be part of the Oscars conversation, and yes, Smith deserves to be nominated. If he isn't then he will only have himself to blame.

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