Written and directed by Charles Murray, #Truth is a story of justice played out in a dysfunctional church culture. Dorian Missick stars as journalist Stewart Cooper who is forced to put his journalistic skills to the test as he seeks justice for his cousin Lanie Cooper (played by real life wife Simone Missick) after she commits suicide.
Church pastor and serial womanizer Kenneth Little (Michael Beach), associate pastor Martin Jarett (Terrell Tillford) and Lanie’s former boyfriend Mark Evans (Kevin Phillips) are all players in this twisted story filled with side plots of lies, anger, failed relationships, adultery and cyberbullying. While many of the women in the film are portrayed as victims or toughened due to past hurts, it is unfortunately a reflection of the sometimes patriarchal culture of many churches today.
One of the resonating messages of the film is, “Get in front of it. Tell the truth.”―a rather contradictory statement as the lead character is forced to resort to lies and deceit in his pursuit of the truth surrounding his cousin’s suicide.
In #Truth we saw some of the best acting and directing at the Toronto Black Film Festival. Terrell Tillford was very believable in the role of associate pastor and loyal enforcer to Pastor Little. Meanwhile, Evans and Missick shined together displaying great onscreen chemistry, including the occasional dose of comic relief.
The film did a good job of addressing very serious contemporary issues, from church scandal to cyberbullying, while adding occasional humour. Audiences laughed at the warped interpretation of God and faith, including the foul-mouthed church leadership, as well as small details like Evans forgetting to wash his hands after using the bathroom (a punishable offence in the Black community).
One of the more refreshing details of the film was the relationship between Stewart and Lanie. Platonic yet loving relationships between men and women, especially cousins, is not something you see very often onscreen. There’s a deep sense of love and friendship between the two cousins and it is this love that fuels his obsessive pursuit of justice.
#Truth is essential viewing for anyone who is a fan of scandal, intrigue, as well as exceptional acting and storytelling.
Written with notes from Koliah Bourne