In 1997, Academy Award–winning actor Morgan Freeman offered to pay for the senior prom at Charleston High School under one condition: the prom had to be racially integrated. His offer was ignored. In 2008, Freeman offered again. This time the school board accepted, and history was made. Until then, blacks and whites had had separate proms even though their classrooms have been integrated for decades. Seemingly inconsequential rites of passage- shopping for dresses, renting tuxedos- suddenly become profound as the weight of history falls on teenage shoulders.
We quickly learn that change does not come easily in this sleepy Delta town. Freeman's generosity fans the flames of racism- and racism in Charleston (population 2,300) has a distinctly generational tinge. The film captures a big moment in a small town, where hope finally blossoms in black, white, and a whole lot of taffeta. [language]