African-American students at an elite, primarily white university wrestle with their racial identities and their roles in the dominant culture. Writer-director Justin Simien, who based this satirical comedy on his own experience as a student at Chapman University in California, has played down comparisons between himself and Spike Lee, but it's worth noting that Lee was exploring the same friction between separatism and assimilation on campus a quarter century ago in School Daze (1988). As in that movie, the issues are more interesting than the characters, though Simien provides a welcome and fairly trenchant update from a culture whose black icons range from the elegant Obama family to Tyler Perry in a fat suit. With Tyler James Williams (Everybody Hates Chris), Tessa Thompson, Teyonah Parris (Mad Men), and Dennis Haysbert.
Director: Justin Simien
Producer: Justin Simien, Effie Brown, Julia Lebedev, Angel Lopez, Ann Le, Lena Waithe, Leonid Lebedev and Stephanie Allain
Cast: Tyler Williams, Tessa Thompson, Kyle Gallner, Teyonah Parris, Brandon Bell, Malcolm Barrett, Brittany Curran, Justin Dobies, Marque Richardson and Dennis Haysbert