Talk to Me

Talk to Me
Studio: Focus Features
Rated: R
Cast: Don Cheadle, Chiwetel Ejiofor
Director: Kasi Lemmons
WorkNameSort: Talk to Me
Our Rating: 3.00
In Talk to Me, director Kasi Lemmons has expertly crafted an uplifting civil rights'era biopic free of false hope and cloying nostalgia. Gently exploring the symbiotic relationship between Ralph 'Peteyâ?� Greene (Don Cheadle), a mouthy ex-con turned ace Washington, D.C., disc jockey, and Dewey Hughes (Chiwetel Ejiofor), a buttoned-down radio station programmer, she's also overseen two Oscar-bait performances. And yet, the main takeaway from Talk is a near-shrug of 'pretty good.â?� Part of what's missing is what's admirable in Lemmons' approach ' an aversion to cheap melodramatic sturm und drang. Instead of the usual biographic rise-and-fall Etch-A-Sketching, Lemmons largely relegates to stage whispers the heroin abuse and alcoholism that bracketed Greene's career, focusing instead on his late-'60s/early-'70s peak as an accidental Black Power zeitgeist-channeler. The result isn't hagiography, and the film's theme of media-driven community is terrific, but it's too calm when it might be better served by being pissed off, while its love story of two interdependent men fails to spark.