'Bull Street' touches on the importance of transparency among generations while being a local cinematic masterpiece

Posted 6/27/24

"Let your children tell their children" reads the film poster for "Bull Street." And the phrase seems simple. But its meaning is profound.

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'Bull Street' touches on the importance of transparency among generations while being a local cinematic masterpiece


"Let your children tell their children" reads the film poster for "Bull Street." And the phrase seems simple. But its meaning is profound.

Let your children tell your children derives from the need to foster transparency among the generations. That honesty is truly the best policy when it comes to shaping the opportunities and relationships of a new generation. Without such transparency, those gray areas are left to be filled with doubt, lies and a false sense of understanding. So, when producing a film that sought to convey this powerful lesson, Director Lynn Dow, supported by Executive Producer Wendy Tucker Tannock, gathered a powerful cast to get the job done.

Loretta Devine stuns in the role of Ms. Big Gal, the matriarch of the small community and a near-spitting image of someone's soulful, supportive but tough-as-nails aunt, grandmother, mother; there will be a moment that is hard to witness solely because of the familiar aura Devine exudes in this character. Complementing her, in both delivery and energy, Malynda Hale's performance as LouEster Gibbs was nothing short of exceptional. The power behind her delivery of lines and show of emotion made tears in the eyes of many, the only reaction one could convey in response to her performance.

Alongside these two showstopping actresses is Amy Madigan playing Mary Ann Motley, or Judge Motley. In films Madigan has graced, "Bull Street" has to be a favorite of this reporter's simply because of her natural progression from following the lead of others to stepping out and stepping up to be the voice of reason among the fray. Arielle Prepetit as Kendra Reed was a fresh contrast, as her strong start to the screen would soon simmer as the film progressed, allowing peeks of humanism to come through. The leading women were supported by star-studded castmates including Chantel Maurice as Mae-Dot, Nicky Buggs as Leila Reed, Madeline McCray as Azell and more.

There wasn't a moment of lull, no moment to pause and gather your bearings with this cast. If it wasn't the tear-jerking performance, it was the need to absorb the lesson, to know the secrets, to seek understanding for how we - the cast and the viewers - ended up here.

It all comes back to one phrase and a lack of its occurrence: Let your children tell their children.

Let your children tell their children about the power of secrets and the lasting impact they can have on generations. That while keeping them close to your chest may seem like the safest place for them to be, that is the same spot where it will sting the most when they are revealed. But be sure to tell about how those secrets - some of those secrets were not conspired out of malice but out of fear. Fear of what people may think, may say or even may do with the information that does not paint the family in the best light. Tell them anyway. Because even though it may be a hard pill to swallow, secrets do more harm to the ones you're trying to protect than to those you're trying to avoid.

Let your children tell their children about the strength in resilience and how overcoming adversity shapes one's character and destiny. That their world extends beyond the overgrown fields and one-stoplight towns. That though it may be scary to journey through life outside of the cocoons we've concealed ourselves in, that first flight - and every flight to follow - taken, though filled with scrapes, bumps and bruises along the way, only makes you stronger. That the death of loved ones will feel like a near-death experience where part of your heart just stops. But keep going. Keep fighting for your chance to fly, be great and be heard.

Let your children tell their children about the significance of legacy and how the stories we pass down define who we are and who we become. Tell them about your own struggles, your mistakes and your triumphs. Tell them how the road to living, merely existing, is not easy and it's not supposed to be. Tell them to not be fooled by the people they rub shoulders with, who are in high positions and the face of municipalities and organizations because a smile can only be as good as the tears and pleas hidden behind it. Tell them about your hopes and your dreams - those that failed and those that thrived. Tell them that a "no" is not a "never," only a "not right now." That there is time to become who you're meant to be. Tell them not to forget those they left behind because though everyone can't come with you on your journey, leave them in a better place than when you found them.

Let your children tell their children that Dow's "Bull Street" was more than just a film. It was a chance to see how the actions of one impact the lives of all. Sometimes, that's not a perspective we're privy to when making decisions. What Dow does best in this film is allow viewers to see the development of each character. To see their anger, their frustration, their tears, their wins, their losses, their hopes and dreams, their attempts to be better and their ignorance to their worst qualities. We get to see people be people in the most turbulent times in their lives, and what makes it better is such a plot unravels against a backdrop we all know as Clarendon County. The spaces, places and faces that are familiar and fond to us only allow viewers of this state and the county to place themselves within the shoes of these characters, walk those fine lines with them and experience it all - the good and the bad. And it's an experience so stellar you'd want to see it again.

So let your children tell their children that "Bull Street" will remain in select South Carolina theaters. The last day to see the film at Regal Sandhill is Thursday, June 27.

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