Netflix’s newest comedy You People reveals the modern struggles of interracial love
Jonah Hill and Lauren London are an unexpected but lovable duo in Netflix's newest comedy
Netflix’s You People is a film that will make you laugh and make you think – the role of any comedy worth watching. Through the lenses of two main characters Ezra (Jonah Hill), a white Jewish man from a wealthy family who has a love for Black culture, and Amira (Lauren London), a proud Muslim woman from a pro-Black family, the modern struggles of interracial love are revealed through the awkwardness of family dynamics and cultural misunderstandings. At the heart of the film is the concept that love is love – but the two characters must overcome the elephant in their relationship regarding the cultural divide between white and Black culture.
At the beginning of the movie, Ezra and Amira aren’t forced to focus on their racial differences, with the two meeting by chance when Ezra mistakes Amira for his Uber driver. He hops into her vehicle and is rightfully met with screams and fists. Eventually, as their relationship becomes serious, they are smacked in the face with reality as both of their families react to their engagement in uncomfortable ways.
Ezra’s family, a tone-deaf, privileged bunch, immediately overcompensate to hide their tone-deafness and lack of experience with Black people. Ezra’s father (David Duchovny) awkwardly serenades Aria with John Legend’s “Ordinary People” during their first meeting and Ezra’s over-friendly mother (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) uses African-American vernacular and drops comments in support of kneeling during the national anthem. On the opposite side, Amira’s pro-black Muslim father (Eddie Murphy) completely disapproves of his daughter dating a white man and tries to find reasons to hate Ezra, even trying to trick him into singing a slur in a rap song and blatantly expressing his fear of potential mixed-raced grandchildren.
Comedy is utilized strategically well in this film and makes the topic of racial ignorance digestible in a way that doesn’t feel overly “preachy” because the conversations are so intertwined with the character’s storylines. Throughout the film, the characters are speaking to each other, but also to the audience while dropping sobering truths about the racial ignorance some white people have regarding Black culture. In a scene where the couple is choosing between two wedding planners, Ezra’s parents exclaim that a fun theme for the wedding could be “old Hollywood.” Amira’s father (Eddie Murphy) quickly rebuts asking, “You love the period in which Black entertainers couldn’t stay at the hotels they performed in?” that is met with a hilarious silent pause and a two-shot of Ezra’s parents in shock and realization of their ignorance.
Although Hill and London do not have an abundance of romantic chemistry, it’s evident they have a real-life friendship that makes the audience want to root for this unexpectedly lovable couple that is facing a host of challenges but desperately wants to overcome them to spend their lives together.
I laughed A LOT watching #YouPeople
Ultimately, that’s what I set out to do🤷🏾♂️ so job well done. Also, the casting dept deserves so much credit because the heavy hitters were insane!
And Kenya should be acknowledged as director for pulling out some brilliant performances.
— Serena's Racquet (@kendalljamaal) January 28, 2023
You People is culturally relevant in 2023 and highlights a topic that is rarely discussed in mainstream media – the difficulties of interracial love in today’s society due to racism, ignorance, and privilege. The film reveals that love isn’t enough, but true acceptance and cultural awareness are needed for any relationship to survive.
Movie Rating: 8/10