Entertainment

4 Over-the-Top Films In 2018 That Actually Make a Point About Social Justice

These movies will make you angry, sad, and hopeful at the same time.
December 26, 2018, 5:30pm
movies about social justice
Illustration by Dian Permatasari

There were so many movies released in 2018 that required basically no brain cells to watch. Now, look, I'm the first to admit that plenty of these fluffy movies were good. But sometimes, I want to watch something serious, something realer-than-real that leaves you thinking for days about our past, our present, and our future as people.

Thankfully, 2018 delivered on those kinds of films too. Here's some of my favorite in-your-face, totally over-the-top movies that were able to make a statement about social justice while also leaving you heartbroken in the process. Enjoy.

Assassination Nation

This movie is so over-the-top that it comes with a trigger warning. As one critic puts it, this movie is “a lesson in taking back agency in a world that constantly tries to strip young women of it.” That sounds about right, especially for a movie about an armed girl gang fighting for survival in the midst of a malicious data hack. How does a teen comedy manage to incorporate political commentary, transphobia, toxic masculinity, and intersectional feminism in such a vibrant and aggressive way that it actually confronts you with how you might be playing a role in the system? Beats me, but somehow it works.

Sorry To Bother You

Step into the bizarre alternate universe of rapper-turned-director Boots Riley, which, despite its ridiculousness, unequivocally reflects the crazy times we live in. Telemarketer Cassius Green finds himself on quite the pro-union, anti-capitalist trip after finding a magic key that turns his world upside down. With a perfect touch of magical realism, this movie is an unapologetic commentary on late-stage capitalism, class inequality, and racial struggles that is so over-the-top, you’ll be shocked to see that it resonated so much with the current social, political, and cultural climate.

Revenge

This one is not for the faint-hearted. Revenge explores themes of exploitation, sexual assault, and objectification through a preposterously bloody lens, following "the other woman" Jen’s fight for her life after her boyfriend’s friends show up at their romantic getaway and begin to hunt her down single-shooter video game style. Why? Because Richard’s friends weren’t supposed to find out about her and because she refused to be treated like a sexual object. If the premise of the movie doesn’t qualify as over-the-top for you, then the excessive amounts of gore definitely will.

BlacKkKlansman

In this exaggerated and confrontational spin on a true story, Spike Lee rightfully reminds us of a time not so long ago when hate triumphed—and that reminds us all that we should be angry it ever does again. Ron Stallworth, the first black cop in Colorado Springs, alongside his Jewish coworker, execute an outlandish scheme to infiltrate the Ku Klux Klan, all thanks to "the power of sounding white." Lee is confrontationally unsubtle in his commentary on racism, but he never meant to be delicate in the first place. BlacKkKlansman is a timely emotional whirlwind that is both poignant and funny as hell; it's a wakeup call that won’t stop ringing.