- 1 hr 32 min
Nightjohn is a powerful and emotional film that explores the realities of slavery and the struggle for freedom in the antebellum South. The film follows the story of Sarny, a young slave girl who lives on a plantation in Alabama. Sarny is initially unaware of the harsh realities of her situation, but that all changes when Nightjohn arrives.
Nightjohn is a slave who has managed to escape from a plantation in the North and has returned to the South to help others attain literacy. Sarny is initially skeptical of Nightjohn's teachings, but she soon comes to understand the power of learning and the importance of literacy in the fight for freedom. Nightjohn's teachings are not only about reading and writing, but also about the harsh realities of slave life and the brutality of the system that kept so many people in bondage.
The film is filled with powerful performances, most notably from Carl Lumbly, who portrays Nightjohn with a quiet intensity that is both inspiring and heartbreaking. Beau Bridges gives a strong performance as Waller, the slave owner who is determined to maintain his power over his slaves. Bill Cobbs also gives a memorable turn as Uncle Homer, Sarny's father figure who sees the value of Nightjohn's teachings but is also fearful of the consequences that could come from defying the system.
The film is beautifully shot, with the lush greenery of the plantation providing a stark contrast to the harsh realities of slave life. The cinematography is particularly effective in capturing the emotional weight of the story, from the joy of Sarny's first time reading a newspaper to the horror of a brutal whipping.
Nightjohn is a gut-wrenching portrayal of the horrors of slavery, but it is also a story of hope and resilience in the face of unimaginable adversity. The themes of the film are timeless and continue to be relevant today, as we grapple with the ongoing legacy of slavery and the fight for racial justice. The film forces us to confront the ugly realities of our history, while also highlighting the power of education and the human spirit to overcome even the most daunting obstacles.
Overall, Nightjohn is a must-see film that is both powerful and deeply moving. It is a reminder of the importance of telling these difficult stories and the necessity of continuing to fight for justice and equality for all.
Nightjohn is a 1996 drama with a runtime of 1 hour and 32 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.8.