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Dear White People (2014)

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The lives of four black students at an Ivy League college.


Justin Simien


Justin Simien (screenplay)
14 wins & 27 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Tyler James Williams ... Lionel Higgins
Tessa Thompson ... Samantha White
Kyle Gallner ... Kurt Fletcher
Teyonah Parris ... Colandrea 'Coco' Conners
Brandon P Bell ... Troy Fairbanks (as Brandon Bell)
Brittany Curran ... Sofia Fletcher
Justin Dobies ... Gabe
Marque Richardson ... Reggie
Malcolm Barrett ... Helmut West
Dennis Haysbert ... Dean Fairbanks
Peter Syvertsen ... President Fletcher
Brandon Alter ... George
Kate Gaulke ... Annie (as Katie Gaulke)
Brian James Brian James ... Martin
Keith Myers ... Mitch


A social satire that follows the stories of four black students at an Ivy League college where controversy breaks out over a popular but offensive black-face party thrown by white students. With tongue planted firmly in cheek, the film explores racial identity in acutely-not-post-racial America while weaving a universal story of forging one's unique path in the world. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A satire about being a black face in a white place


Comedy | Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language, sexual content and drug use | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »


Official Sites:

Official site





Release Date:

4 December 2014 (Brazil) See more »

Also Known As:

Cara Gente Branca See more »

Filming Locations:

Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$347,959, 17 October 2014, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$4,404,154, 25 January 2015
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



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Did You Know?


Sofia derisively tells Coco that she knows to ask whether or not Coco's hair is "weaved" because she had to watch Chris Rock's 2009 documentary Good Hair (2009) for a class. When Dear White People was released on DVD, the first trailer that appeared in front of the movie was for Good Hair. See more »


The flame on the candle in Sam's room on Halloween night is static, revealing that it is fake. See more »


Sam White: Dear white people, the minimum requirement of black friends needed to not seem racist has just been raised to two. Sorry, but your weed man, Tyrone, does not count.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The end credits include photographs of the real-life blackface (and brownface) college parties that inspired the film's climax. See more »


References The Answer (1980) See more »


Performed by Starchild and The New Romantic
Written by Bryndon T. Cook
Courtesy of Bryndon T. Cook, LLC and Romantic Music Corp.
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User Reviews

Wasted potential
19 January 2015 | by mikehonorama-217-940260See all my reviews

Justin Simien's directorial debut should be lauded for its ambition, but as both a director and screenwriter, he has a long ways to go. An attractive cast of varying ability is saddled with an overstuffed script that has unnecessary subplots and diversions (while still having a convenient economy of characters), leaving a movie that lurches around from plot point to plot point, with some areas of that plot being underdeveloped and unconvincing.

Meanwhile, Simien the director is all over clever visuals and storytelling devices, yet he has a hard time dealing with various tones of the movie. More importantly, the pace of the film is leaden, which sucks the life out of some of the potentially humorous situations, while making some of the social commentary come off as more strident than need be. A lot of scenes feature awkward staging, with some actors seeming to not know what to do as a scene winds down.

The result is a movie with more than its fair share of nice moments and some winning performances, with almost no cohesion whatsoever. This is a shame, as Simien makes some good points throughout the movie on the state of race relations in America.

Roger Ebert noted that it's not necessarily what a movie is about, but how it is about it. The high praise for this movie represents the flip side of this notion, as it's getting plaudits for what it's about rather than its execution.

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