Indie Memphis Film Festival (2021) reivew: ‘The Pill’ is not so hard to swallow.


An African-American family indulges in the use of a secret pill that helps them cope with their day-to-day stressors of racism outside of their home.

Featuring every cliche micro-aggression to full-blown bigotry, The Pill is an undeniably intriguing concept. If people of color could take a pill that causes the brain to gloss over racism, would they?

In the film, the alternate reality that the pill induces is highlighted by a sweet underlying jazz score. It’s an effective way to differentiate the more appealing scenario besides replaying it with slightly different dialogue. Steven St. Pierre, as Stanley, is funny and down to earth. Nefertiti Warren, as Monica, has some real acting chops. Her range is on full display in The Pill. I must mention Kamel Gaffin as Shiek, the family’s drug dealer. His nonchalance is charming, and he provides a perfect cathartic scene in the final act.

There are minor continuity issues. Costumes needed to refresh for characters in multiple scenes and we see some of the strangest looking culinary school food prep, but that does not lessen the storytelling. The overall arc of the film remains engrossing. Though, I would suggest a minimum 15 minute trim. While the pacing could use some work, it’s a solid treatment for an expanded series.

The existential issue remains within reality for racists. The pill doesn’t fix their behavior but, the film focuses on the intention. Stanley is trying to make the world better for his family. In truth, their drug-induced moments are a mere bandaid. The Pill left me filled with big questions and big feelings, in the best ways. It is nothing less than a fantastic conversation starter.


About Liz Whittemore

Liz grew up in northern Connecticut and was memorizing movie dialogue from Shirley Temple to A Nightmare on Elm Street at a very early age. She will watch just about any film all the way through (no matter how bad) just to prove a point. A loyal New Englander, a lover of Hollywood, and true inhabitant of The Big Apple.

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