Abigael Wegner — Staff writer
Jonah Hill’s new movie, “You People”, released on Jan. 17, has brought up major controversies within African American and Jewish communities. The story is about a Jewish Man and an African American woman and their trials in finding love within the pressures of their distinct cultures.
After meeting in an Uber lift altercation, characters Ezra and Amira (played by Jonah Hill and Lauren London) quickly find companionship and bond over their love of style, culture and humor. Six months later when the couple decides to get married is when chaos ensues, and their families are brought into the mix of their relationship.
This movie demonstrates many challenges interracial couples face. In this movie, the main challenges are shown through the duality between the religious background of both families, the judgmental nature of Amira’s father, and Ezra’s mother’s ignorance.
The movie was given a 41 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes, stemming from complaints that the movie tries to include both comedy and social commentary while not being able to stay true to either. IMDb scored the movie a 5.5/10, due to its cliché portrayal of characters and dependance on extremist stereotypes.
Many were offended by the use of stereotypes in the film to convey the contrast between people groups. I enjoyed the film and thought it was funny while also bringing up some crucial points within our modern society. Upon looking at the reviews of this film and seeing that Google has the film at an accumulated 2.5 stars, I realize there is more to the characters that I hadn’t realized.
In my limited knowledge of interracial relationships, as well as American culture in general, I was not aware of how the characters portrayal could be offensive to viewers. Coming from a large Canadian city, interracial couples are quite common, and I would argue less controversial than they were portrayed in this American film, which could just be a difference in culture.
Of course, there are many challenges with marrying and even dating someone outside of your culture, especially when it has such historical roots. The pressures of marrying within a culture are high, especially when ethnic groups are depleting in numbers.
I have witnessed first-hand the division of families when it comes to loving someone outside of the “acceptable” ethnic race in a parental view. I believe the movie “You People” does an excellent job of presenting these trials.
Many online reviewers commented that in the midst of this movie trying to bring light to cultural trials, it is still racist, considering its “woke” nature. They show the Jewish family as rich and fake, as well as demean the impact of the Holocaust on Jewish families, in the opinion of some Jewish viewers.
The African American family was also seen in a poor light, being judgmental and exclusive, even calling Amira’s dad an “angry black man.” In my opinion this movie does use stereotypes, but I would infer they do so in order to capture the great divide between the groups to dramatize the situation for the sake of film.
With such an amazing and popular cast, the expectations were high for this movie, but it seemed to fall flat as its humor was overtaken by racial undertones too sensitive for viewers.