Shoot the Messenger

Rated NR 90 minutes

Disturbed by the problems within his own community, naive black Londoner Joe Pascale decides to become personally involved by sacrificing his high-paying tech job to become a teacher at an urban high school. In order to improve the prospects of his students, he utilizes a philosophy of enforced education, determined to make these teens learn whether they want to or not. But when Germal, one of his most difficult pupils, accuses Joe of assault, the black community backs the teen, branding Joe as a traitor and further humiliating him by demanding his dismissal. Fixated on the idea that all black people are out to get him, Joe rapidly descends into madness and finds himself destitute. Eventually, the God-fearing Mabel brings him into her home, but even her kindness and generosity do nothing to quell Joe's fear of black people. In an attempt to repair his life, Joe visits a job center where he develops a friendship with his counselor, the new-age devotee Heather. As the two fall in love, Joe has difficulty accepting certain things about Heather: her woven hair, her insecurities, and especially her black friends. Ultimately he is forced to confront his issues with Germal, Heather, and his entire community.

Film Credits

Director: Ngozi Onwurah

Writer: Sharon Foster

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