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‘God’s Country’ is a Magnificent Tale of Nuanced Rage – Black Girl Nerds


‘God’s Country’ is a Magnificent Tale of Nuanced Rage – Black Girl Nerds

Man, God’s Country got me in the gut. 

Sandra Guidry (Thandiwe Newton, Westworld) is a college professor living alone in a small Western America town. Returning from burying the ashes of her recently deceased mother in the wilderness that is her backyard, Sandra sees an old red pickup truck used by two local hunters on her property. She leaves a polite note on the windshield requesting that the hunters not park on her property. 

You would think, in a small town in middle America where the rights of landowners are fiercely protected and folks are supposed to be neighborly Christians, the men would respect Sandra’s property and move on. But this is America, Sandra is a Black woman, and the men she’s dealing with are white. 

From the moment I saw Sandra’s reaction to that ancient pickup truck in the stark winter landscape, my blood ran cold. I instantly thought of Emmett Till and wanted to run into the movie and beg Sandra not to go there. But Sandra is fifty levels beyond tired, and this is the stand she must take. Thandie Newton’s courageously unapologetic embodiment of Sandra is mesmerizing. She is not just an actor — this woman is a force of nature. 

God’s Country is a masterclass in filmmaking. Co-writers Shaye Ogbonna and Julian Higgins have crafted a captivating 21st century thriller that mirrors an America constantly on the cusp of conflict. The calm fury that lives behind Sandra’s eyes is borne of years of “tired,” balancing caring for her terminally ill mother, working at an all-white college, and living in an all-white town. She just wants to be home to grieve alone with her dog, and these two white men arrogantly disrupt her peace. 

It is refreshing to see a film where the protagonist is a single, child-free Black woman. Sandra isn’t a mother protecting her children, she is a daughter protecting her property in a country where 156 years earlier she would have been considered to be property. The outside world melted away and I was riveted to the screen. God’s Country “shows” instead of “tells,” and through silence,…

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