Saturday, January 21, 2012

"Red Tails:" Action-Packed History

This snowy winter afternoon, while our sons were spending time with friends, my husband and I went to see "Red Tails," the movie inspired by the heroics of the Tuskegee Airmen, the African-American pilots who fought in World War II as a segregated unit in the U.S. Air Force.

The movie, produced by George Lucas, is getting mixed reviews, with one film critic calling it "middling" and another saying that the real-life Tuskegee Airmen deserve better.  My husband and I, however, found the film fun, poignant and action-packed. It tells an important chapter of American history. Too many of us don't know enough history or about the history of African Americans in particular. This film will entertain you, inspire you and educate you.  I cried when it was over.

Will you learn everything you want to know about World War II or about the history of African Americans in the United States military from this movie? Of course not.

The PG-13 movie is an old-fashioned Hollywood war movie. There is no explication of the men's lives before or after the war; the plot begins in the middle of war and ends with the men's recognition by military brass.  Sometimes, the dialogue feels stilted and the orchestration overdone. But we both like the movie so much that my husband and another parent are taking two vans to carpool a large crew of our younger son's middle school buddies next Saturday to see it. Perhaps folks who see this movie will want to learn more about this piece of our history.  I know I do.

On another personal note, Rutgers Focus, which my husband oversees, ran an interesting article about a faculty member and an alum who served as Tuskegee Airmen. You can read it here.

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