Review: “The Rape of Recy Taylor” Hits Where It Counts
“The numbers of women raped in Jim Crow South were staggering. In danger of their lives, they did not report the crimes and their stories went hidden. Not Recy Taylor, a 24-year-old mother who was gang raped by 6 white boys in 1944 Alabama. Unbroken, she spoke up, and with the help of Rosa Parks and legions of women spreading the word, they worked to get Recy Taylor justice.”
Sadly, no proper justice will come to Recy Taylor. This film tells her story and reveals the truth, which has remained hidden for far too long. Through this documentary, the filmmakers have given a sliver of the justice, exposure and recognition to Recy Taylor. But it will never be enough. She will never properly receive every kind of apology, respect and innocence she deserves. It’s crime against humanity that should not go unheard.
With that said, this film isn’t an immature cry for help or an overly critical analyzation. It simply states the truth, telling us what happened, and shows how Recy Taylor’s bravery was just the start of a revolution. The start of hearing the voices of countless women who had been through the same horrors. And just like the actions of the women that fought for Recy Taylor, the statements, images and actions delivered in this film are not only rooted in the protection of black womanhood, but also for every woman.
CINEMATICS (CINEMATOGRAPHY, ACTING, PLOT, ETC.) – 5
What’s brilliant about this film is its use of B-roll footage. Several of the images are from home videos and historical footage taken during her case, but a lot of it is footage from race films and newsreels that have nothing to do with Recy Taylor. This creative choice supports the thematic foundations of the documentary – protection for not just black womanhood, but for every woman. At times, the interviewees are speaking about Recy Taylor and/or other victims during that time, and the B-roll footage displayed shows a young (or old) black woman sitting in a chair looking at the camera.
Was this woman a rape victim as well? The answer to that question isn’t relevant in this situation. The juxtaposition between the interviewees’ words and the woman sitting demonstrates the subject matter could happen to any woman anywhere, even the nice old woman sitting next to you. It’s a wonderful use of footage and, superfluously, exhibits the power and magic of filmmaking.
The magic escorts the audience through a plot that’s interesting, horrifying and inequitable. Nancy Burski doesn’t overexert her power as director but allows it to create a proper venue for a desperate truth begging to be let out. All the information is provided, and all of the sorrow you’ll feel for Recy Taylor, and other women like her, will be provided right along with it.
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE – 5
Without knowing much about Recy Taylor and her case, the documentary held my attention and grasped my emotions. There’s a sense of hope I received while watching, hoping to see Recy Taylor receive her justice. But that wasn’t the case in the end. So while this film is very important for everyone to see, it will leave you with an influx of misery.
My entertainment came from the enlightenment bestowed by Nancy Burski’s directing and the brave Recy Taylor’s horrific story, which left me feeling sick. Yet, I can’t complain about the disgust I felt. Because it’s nothing compared to what women like Recy Taylor had to go through.
REWATCHABILITY – 2
There’s no reason for me to re-watch it, but I do feel the responsibility to encourage others to view.
- Entertainment Value
“The Rape of Recy Taylor” will hit you where it counts – heart, mind, body and soul. It’s a story not commonly heard around the world but should be imprinted on the universe. With powerful uses of B-roll footage and stellar interviews, the truth about Recy Taylor and the atrocious acts enacted upon her is revealed through righteousness, but it in no way represents the full, proper justice Recy Taylor deserves. It’s a brilliant piece of cinema telling a sad story that too many women, of all shades of color, have had to go through.