Very hard to watch but a remarkable movie, telling parallel stories of a white family and a black family, coping, struggling in 1940s Mississippi. Life can be very hard (I was reminded of my grandmother’s eking out a living on her farm in West Memphis during the Depression), life can be unfair, and there is both cruelty and kindness in humans. What was most remarkable to me was the balanced presentation: there was good and bad, strength and weakness in almost all the characters. Only “Pappy” was despicable and only the wonderful Carey Mulligan was saintly; the rest were making do as best they could. (Why Mary J. Blige received an Oscar nomination is an artistic, if not political, mystery.) In a year of movies with inexplicable endings, this fit right in; but I suppose after two hours of misery and prejudice in the mud, director Dee Rees felt the viewer deserved a break.