Origin Movie Details
Origin Movie Release Date: January 19, 2024
Cast: Aunjanue Ellis , Niecy Nash , Jon Bernthal
Director: Ava DuVernay
Inclusion Information: Female directors, Black directors, Female actors, Bisexual actors, Black actors, Lesbian actors, Female writers, Black writers
Topics: Activism , Book Characters , History
Character Strengths: Courage , Empathy , Integrity , Perseverance , Self-control
Run time: 135 minutes
Table of Contents
Origin Movie Story
“CASTE,” which began in 2012, follows the journey of author and journalist Isabel Wilkerson, portrayed by Aunjanue Ellis-Taylor. Initially approached to write about the tragic shooting death of Trayvon Martin, Isabel hesitates but ultimately delves into the exploration of institutional racism and its connection to the concept of caste.
The narrative takes a poignant turn with the consecutive losses of Isabel’s husband Brett, played by Jon Bernthal, and her mother Ruby, portrayed by Emily Yancy. Deep in grief, Isabel embarks on a research journey to Germany, where she investigates the Nuremberg Laws enacted by the Nazis, revealing how they transformed being Jewish into a lower caste. The exploration further extends to India, where Isabel learns about the dehumanizing treatment of the “untouchable” Dalit community, providing a global perspective on caste dynamics.
As Isabel immerses herself in research, the film skillfully weaves flashbacks, offering viewers glimpses into various stories that substantiate Isabel’s hypothesis about caste, both in historical contexts and the present day. The narrative unfolds, connecting threads of oppression and discrimination, creating a powerful commentary on the enduring impact of caste in different societies.
The emotional depth of the film, coupled with the historical and contemporary explorations, prompts viewers to reflect on the pervasive nature of caste systems and their implications on individuals and communities worldwide. “CASTE” unfolds as a thought-provoking journey, blending personal narratives with broader historical contexts to shed light on the complex and interconnected nature of caste in our shared human experience.
How is the Movie?
“Origin,” a powerful drama, delves into Isabel Wilkerson’s compelling connections between institutional racism in the United States and the atrocities of other caste systems. Aunjanue Ellis-Taylor delivers an outstanding and nuanced performance as the Pulitzer Prize-winning Isabel. Her portrayal vividly captures the enduring impact of heart-wrenching grief and the intensity of passionate discussions. The script navigates heavy themes and imparts lessons without becoming overly preachy.
Director Ava DuVernay courageously confronts the atrocities committed in the name of preserving caste systems. The film doesn’t shy away from depicting scenes of inequality and cruelty, portraying traumatic experiences that range from the heartbreak of a young Black boy barred from enjoying a pool with his White friends to the chilling scenes of Nazis separating parents from crying children and White Southerners picnicking at an afternoon lynching.
Aunjanue Ellis-Taylor’s foundational performance is complemented by a memorable supporting cast, including Jon Bernthal as Isabel’s devoted husband, Niecy Nash as her encouraging cousin, and Emily Yancy as her mother. Audra McDonald, in a small but impactful role, portrays a woman named Miss, whose Alabama-born father defied societal norms in the Jim Crow South.
“Origin” weaves together elements of a biopic and a history lesson, leaving viewers inspired to delve into further research about the people and stories depicted. The film introduces intriguing characters such as August and Irma Landmesser, the German couple who defied Hitler’s intermarriage laws, and explores prescient 1930s research on race in the Deep South. In the section focusing on Dalits in India, real-life Harvard scholar Suraj Yengde plays himself, serving as Isabel’s guide to the history of Dalit activism.
While the movie presents discomfort and sadness, it is beautifully performed and thought-provoking. “Origin” encourages viewers to reflect on the complex interplay of caste systems, prompting a deeper understanding of the historical and contemporary struggles faced by marginalized communities.