HOLLYWOOD (CBSLA.com) — Director Spike Lee called the movie “disrespectful” to slavery and says he won’t see it. PEOPLE’s Alynda Wheat, who is, incidentally, a black woman, said “The first hour is brilliant.”
Fueling interest — and controversy — many in Hollywood are weighing in on the movie “Django Unchained” — on both sides of the ‘should you see it, or shouldn’t you’ argument.
Serene Branson, reporting for CBS2 and KCAL9, went in search of moviegoers who have seen the flick and asked their opinion.
First, a little background. Django, played by Oscar-winner Jamie Foxx, is a slave-turned-bounty hunter trying to free his wife from the evil clutches of a brutal plantation owner in Mississippi. Set two years before the Civil War, the film has been called violent (it’s directed by Quentin Tarantino, big surprise!) and historically-inaccurate. It is also called — often funny, satire, deadly serious, a slavery revenge fantasy, fun, a black empowerment story, you name it… opinions vary wildly.
And that is just what Branson found when she spoke to film fans.
One said the movie was “excellent.” Another said it was “the best work Tarantino has done.” A black woman said, “It’s a heavy subject. But I enjoyed the humor.”
For her part, film critic Wheat did not appreciate the liberal use of the N word throughout the film. She counted 114 uses. “That’s egregious,” she wrote. The black female fan Branson spoke to said “the word is part of our history. We can’t pretend it didn’t exist. And to be honest, someone called me that a few weeks ago driving by.”
The 180-minute film also stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Christoph Waltz, Kerry Washington and Samuel L. Jackson.
“Django Unchained” has been nominated for four NAACP Image Awards, including Best Picture.
Spike Lee doesn’t understand black people enjoying this film. He recently tweeted that this ugly, horrific period in American history was no laughing matter.
For his part, the movie’s star says the film is not supposed to be taken that seriously and it’s not a message movie. Foxx has said, “if you want to go learn something, go watch a documentary.”
For more about the film, click here for its official site.