“This is Just My Face, Try Not to Stare”: A Review of the Tale of Four

 

The Tale of Four is a short film directed by Gabourey Sidibe. Yes, the one who is referred to almost exclusively as ” the girl who played in Precious”, despite having starred in several other films, and series including: Empire, American Horror Story,  The Big C, Yelling to the Sky, and many more, as well as being the author of a marvelous memoir called This is Just My Face, Try Not to Stare and now the director of astonishing short film The Tale of Four. 

 

The Tale of Four is based off of Nina Simone’s Four Women and is also sampled in Jay-Z’s the Story of O.J. It’s a short film that calls for action within the Black Lives Matter movement by telling the stories of Black women fighting back against mass incarceration and police brutality by highlighting their harsh realities through the perspective commonly neglected in mainstream coverage, the Black woman perspective. 

After reading Sidibe’s memoir this summer, I became a fan of her work and, unless you read the book, you probably don’t know about her directing debut movie. It, of course, exceeded my expectations in every way. Not knowing much about directing aside from being able to recognize strong acting, I deem it a vivid and accurate depiction of Black American life. Countless themes and symbols are present throughout specifically those pertaining to the realities of Black women, such as: colorism, mother-daughter relationships, sexual abuse, challenges faced by plus sized women, police brutality, domestic violence, bullying and the list goes on. 

In an effort not to spoil the film, I urge you to take out 20 minutes and watch the film (below). Not just as a Gabourey Sidibe stan, but as an advocate for expanding the platforms through which we the stories of Black women (also: Black people and other marginalized communites) are highlighted. Feel free to let me know what you think and what stood out to you in the comments. Certainly, it’ll resonate differently with everyone, but it’s a must see regardless.  

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