‘Antebellum’: This Movie Polarizes Audiences and for the Directors, That’s the Point

‘Antebellum’: This Movie Polarizes Audiences and for the Directors, That’s the Point
Making movies is arduous, but the appreciation that follows can make it all worthwhile. For writer-director duo Bush|Renz, comprised of Gerard Bush and Christopher Renz, that experience has so far evaded them. Their feature debut “Antebellum,” which premiered on PVOD last week, aimed to recontextualize what American slavery meant. To put it kindly, it found a blistering reception.

The film, a glossy twist on the so-called “slave narrative,” stars Janelle Monáe as a woman “trapped in a horrifying reality that forces her to confront the past, present and future.” The filmmakers made “Antebellum” to catalyze a national dialogue around a host of urgent topics, including race.

Critics don’t see it that way. Rotten Tomatoes currently scores “Antebellum” with a 28 percent rating, with the critical consensus that it’s “a largely unpleasant experience.” It has its supporters — Stephanie Zacharek at Time praises Monáe as “electrifying” and said the film is “a tense,
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