In THE GHOSTS OF MISSISSIPPI, set in 1960s, a white racist is paraded as a champion after shooting Medgar Evers, an African American civil rights leader. After two hung juries result in mistrials and thirty years pass, the defendant, Byron De La Beckwith (James Woods), is brought back to trial thanks to the persistence of the wife of the slain civil rights leader, Myrlie Evers-Williams (played by Whoopi Goldberg), and a courageous assistant district attorney, Bobby DeLaughter (Alec Bladwin). The story centers around DeLaughter’s uphill battle and the personal consequences he and his family face when he chooses to pursue a third trial against Beckwith. Also highlighted is Myrlie Evers and her relationship with DeLaughter , which evolves from frustration and suspicion into trust.
Director and producer Rob Reiner should be commended for his treatment of how family love and support helps empower those who fight injustice. The acting is well done, and Woods’ portrayal of the elderly Beckwith is superb. On a moral note, Beckwith makes disturbing racist statements which he attributes to the Bible and Jesus. The movie fails to acknowledge God as the source of justice and the One with the only balm that will eternally heal our wounds. This is a probing movie marred some brief but graphic violence and many obscenities.
(H, B, C, Ab, LLL, VV, A, D, M ) Humanist worldview in which the court system is relied on as the sole means for obtaining justice with some moral, Christian and anti-Christian elements; 4 profanities, 14 obscenities, 21 vulgarities, 8 blasphemies, extensive racist epithets including numerous uses of the word "nigger", references to the Ku Klux Klan, swastikas, & death threats; fatal shooting in which children are present & video clips from the 1960s show burning crosses & violence against Blacks, including beatings by police officers; woman grabs her husband's buttocks; reference to drinking too much; cigar smoking; and, wife leaves husband & children, divorce; vandalism, & lying on the witness stand.