At least Gail has a running buddy, fellow African-American teacher Liv (Amber Gray). Liv is in the running for tenure, but that promotion is threatened when Jasmine files a lawsuit against her for failing her on paper. The mission was to watch The scarlet letter through the prism of race. Jasmine can’t figure out how to frame this, so she gets an F despite her article being well written. Her white classmate, however, spun a ridiculous amount of malarkey even though she didn’t buy into it and got a B+. I began to wonder: Was Liv’s note an attempt to prove to the tenure committee that she wasn’t giving preferential treatment to one of the school’s only minority students?
I had even more questions about his relationship with Gail. It’s supposed to be friendly, but it’s really chilling, even when Liv offers him minimal support. “You feel like a n—er house,” she says at one point, pointing out that Gail is basically a diversity hire to keep the school looking good. His mandate is also very likely, but he is in danger. Satirically, Diallo shoots Gail’s white colleagues on the tenure committee so garishly that they look like drawings by R. Crumb. When Gail is among them, she looks visually smaller and more realistic.
You may have forgotten this witch, but not the movie. It also haunts Gail, leading to several scenes where Hall has to act terrified upon hearing a bell or seeing a bunch of maggots – this movie loves maggots. To her credit, she gives a decent performance despite her character’s poor writing. There’s a missed opportunity for Gail to be friends with Jasmine, given that she also knows what it’s like to be a rare minority on campus (“there were three of us and we were wrong the on top of each other,” she says to Jasmine). Instead, for reasons I don’t understand, Gail tells Jasmine that she should go back to school after she was nearly killed by supernatural forces. “You can’t escape it,” she tells him, the “it” being racism. Maybe not, but neither should you return to where he permanently resides.