Starring: Janelle Monáe, Eric Lange, Jena Malone, Jack Huston, Kiersey Clemons, Tongayi Chirisa, Gabourey Sidibe, Robert Aramayo, Lily Cowles, Marque Richardson
OUR RATING: ★★★☆☆
Horror thriller written and directed by Gerard Bush and Christopher Renz. The story follows successful author Veronica Henley (Janelle Monáe), who finds herself trapped in a horrifying reality and must uncover the mind-bending mystery before it’s too late.
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Our Favorite Quotes:'The past is never dead. It's not even past.' - William Faulkner (Antebellum) Click To Tweet 'Sometimes what looks like anger is really just fear. Things are not always what they appear to be.' - Veronica (Antebellum) Click To Tweet 'The unresolved past can certainly wreak havoc on the present.' - Sarah (Antebellum) Click To Tweet
[written on-screen quote]
“The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” – William Faulkner
[as he’s torturing her]
Him: Your friends are dead because of you. You know that, right? Try to escape again, I’ll drag you to the burn shed myself.
[he then burns her back with branding iron]
Him: Now, let’s try this again. Say your name, girl.
Veronica: [sobbing] Eden. Eden.
Him: Say your name with pride and conviction!
Veronica: [sobbing] Eden. My name is Eden.
Him: That’s good, Eden. Real good. Everything will be alright now. And you can stop that crying.
[to the captured men and women on the plantation]
Captain Jasper: Wherever you were before, whatever small freedoms you might have enjoyed, I’m here to tell you that’s over. I don’t tolerate any back talk whatsoever from inferiors. In fact, on this plantation, you will only speak when given permission to do so. That means absolutely no talking among yourselves unless one of the white folk on property gives you permission to do so. If you do, oh, we will know about it.
Julia: Look, I can’t do this. Whatever you’re doing, I can’t do it.
Veronica: Listen to me. Wherever you came from before here, you need to forget about it.
Julia: Mm-mm. That is not possible for me.
Julia: What are we doing? Huh? What is the plan?
Veronica: You think I haven’t tried?
[she pulls up her shirt to show how she was branded]
Veronica: We must choose our moment wisely. But until then, we keep our heads down and our mouths shut. Do you understand me?
Julia: I know you. And I know that you are my only way out of here. I’m pregnant.
Veronica: I need you to listen to me. You have to keep quiet. These white people will kill you.
Julia: Oh, you think being quiet is being strong, huh? What has that ever gotten us? You ain’t no leader. You’re just a talker.
Him: [to his soldiers] We are descendants of the gods, and we will fight with the same immeasurable courage and vigor. We will sacrifice our blood and fertilize this soil of our homeland. This is the only hope we have of retaining our heritage, our way of life. This land was always ours. It is our rightful inheritance.
Him: [to his soldiers] I have faith in this because I have faith in you. You all are the future. And it is you who will lead us all to the ultimate victory.
Captain Jasper: [to the soldiers] These sapphires are here to fulfill your every need.
[as Julia’s been ordered to sleep with Daniel]
Julia: Look, you don’t have to do this. I can tell that you’re special. You’re not like the others. Those monsters.
Daniel: Why did you speak to me?
Julia: You mean, when your friend called me over before?
Daniel: No. Why did you speak to me when I entered the room just now?
Julia: I just thought we should have a proper introduction.
Daniel: You have a short memory then. You heard Commander Jasper. You speak only when given permission to do so. Is that not right?
Julia: Yes, sir. I mean, Daniel.
Daniel: No. It’s “sir”!
[he then strikes her hard]
[after she sees Julia’s face has been beaten]
Veronica: Are you okay?
Julia: [sobbing] Please.
Veronica: I know. Be patient. Just keep going. We have to keep going.
[as we see Veronica’s former life as author and activist with her husband and daughter]
Nick: Another bad dream?
Veronica: No. I’m okay.
[to their young daughter, Kennedi]
Veronica: There she is! My favorite girl. Guess what?
Veronica: Daddy is going to get you dressed for school today.
Kennedi: I know exactly what I want to wear.
[as Veronica watches herself on the news debate]
Talking Head: I understand you think you are defending the plight of the black man. I guess, in your case, the black woman. But we are doing a disservice to the argument, much less your people, by conflating race with basic common sense.
Veronica: I would say this. The disenfranchisement of black people in America is by design, written into the actual DNA of this country. Your argument, however flawed, has been successfully promoted, and propagated through repetition. We hear it over, and over again. But I’m here to tell you that this vicious cycle of inequity will soon be broken.
Nick, Veronica: Boom!
[referring to Veronica’s debate on the news show]
Kennedi: Mommy, why was that man so angry?
Veronica: Oh, baby, that is a really great question. Sometimes what looks like anger is really just fear. Things are not always what they appear to be, baby. Does that make sense?
[Kennedi shakes her head]
Veronica: Do you remember when Vanessa was bullying you at school? She was picking on you? And mommy had to come up there because Vanessa thought that you were going to come in class and take all of her toys away. And now you two are like best friends.
Kennedi: So, are you two friends yet?
Veronica: Not yet, baby. Mommy’s working on it.
[on a video call with Elizabeth, who is also Jasper’s wife on the plantation]
Veronica: I don’t mean to be curt, but do you have any questions around the book?
Elizabeth: Oh. Your book. Yes, I believe you mentioned it on that show that you were on.
As a matter of fact, I know you mentioned it. Because I thought it was rather odd that you chose that moment to be peddling your wares.
Veronica: Well, actually, that particular segment focused on the lack of inclusion. And that is exactly what my book highlights. Intersectionality of race, class, and gender. I wrote Shedding the Coping Persona as a road map to revolution for historically marginalized people.
Veronica: Maybe I didn’t catch this earlier, but who did you say you were with again?
Elizabeth: I didn’t mention it. I’m a bit of a talent scout.
Veronica: Oh. So, you’re a headhunter. That makes sense.
Elizabeth: [smiling] I’m a headhunter. Exactly that.
[referring to Kennedi]
Veronica: It breaks my heart every time I have to leave her. I just feel like I’m not doing enough. It’s like when I’m at home, I’m not working enough. When I’m working, I’m not home enough. I’m not mom enough. I’m not wife enough.
Dawn: Okay, you listen to me now. Okay? Yes, you’re a superwoman, but you’re also a human woman. Okay? And you are doing awesome. And Miss Kennedi, or as the world will one day refer to her, Madam President, is living her best life thanks to you, okay? So be nicer to yourself, please.
Veronica: Thank you. I love you.
Dawn: I love you too.
Dawn: No, I get it. You trying to namaste in a peaceful space. And I’m about to ruin that, so let me just see myself out.
Veronica: [playfully sings] I love you. I love you. I love you
Dawn: You’re welcome for this free coffee. I paid seventy-four dollars and ninety-three for that. I will Cash App you.
Veronica: No, you did not. Stop.
Dawn: I will. I will. I will.
Dawn: And I want to remind you to be good to yourself, okay? Be kind to yourself. Be kind to my friend.
Veronica: I will.
Sarah: Okay, I love you. But I have to run to my panel, “The Exorcism of the Unconscious Past.”
Veronica: Ah. “The past is never dead.”
Sarah: “It’s not even past.”
Veronica: You know, my nana used to say, “Our ancestors haunt our dreams to see themselves forward.”
Sarah: The unresolved past can certainly wreak havoc on the present.
[giving a presentation on stage]
Veronica: You know, I learned very quickly that black people, black women in particular, we’re expected to be seen, not heard. Or we risk being perceived as threatening to the patriarchy. Or, God forbid, we continue to get branded as the “angry black woman”. So, the coping persona has been this mode of survival for generations of oppressed people. What I also learned through those experiences is within our authenticity lies our real power. And that’s even in those environments, which by design, demand our complete and total assimilation.
[giving a presentation on stage]
Veronica: To the patriarchy, we’ve been practically invisible. But their arrogance is their greatest vulnerability. And our greatest opportunity. And it brings me to a quote by Assata Shakur. “The only thing that we have to lose are our chains.” Liberation over assimilation. They’re stuck in the past. We are the future. Our time is now. It’s now. Right now.
Dawn: And also, how often do I get my V? Twice a year? Maybe three times a year. Okay, I need you all to myself tonight. Okay? No filter. Full Dawn.
Veronica: Oh, she comes with a filter?
[after Veronica refuses Dawn’s invitation of a night out on the town]
Dawn: We will keep you abreast of all of our hoetivities via text anyhow.
Veronica: Please do. I want to know everything.
Dawn: Girl, the hoetivity is going to be popping tonight.
Dawn: Oh, speaking of getting dressed, what are you wearing tonight? Do not come down here in mom jeans, okay? I need all eyes on our table, because I’m trying to f*** tonight. You are on board for that, okay?
Veronica: I won’t disappoint.
[as Elizabeth’s daughter, who is also on the plantation, gets into the elevator]
Veronica: Are you going to the forty-ninth floor too?
Little Blonde Girl: Shh. You’ll get in trouble for talking.
Veronica: [confused] Oh. I’ll get in trouble for talking? Okay. Shh.
[she twirls to show off her outfit]
Veronica: You rang, darling?
Dawn: Girl, I said, “Step it up,” not murder these hoes.
Sarah: Okay. Here’s a new concept. What do you think? Instead of a “f***boy”, it’s an “inti-mate”.
Dawn: Okay, I love everything about it.
Sarah: It’s someone who’s going to feed me ice cream and knows how to soothe my childhood trauma.
Dawn: It doesn’t sound like you need to take a Plan B with that guy at all. An inti-mate.
Sarah: I just want somebody to snuggle me at night. That’s all I want.
Dawn: You deserve.
Sarah: Is that so much to ask?
Dawn: You can call me.
Sarah: You’re a great snuggler.
Dawn: I am a great snuggler.
[referring to Veronica and Nick’s happy marriage]
Sarah: See, here I thought marital bliss was an oxymoron.
Veronica: Guys, I can one hundred percent confirm that Nick is not that perfect. Trust, okay? But he is kind of perfect for me.
Sarah: Yeah. There it is.
Dawn: Ugh. Girl, she ruined it. I thought there was tea coming.
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