Welcome to “What’s Good,” a column where we break down the TV or films that are soothing, distracting, or just plain good with a “rooting for everybody Black” energy. This edition is all about Colman Domingo at TIFF.
What’s Good? Colman Domingo. Period. The actor has been gracing our screens for decades, popping up and quietly snatching scenes in critically-lauded films (Zola, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Selma, If Beale Street Could Talk) and acclaimed TV (Fear The Walking Dead, Euphoria) but despite being a standout in every project, he hasn’t been the exalted leading man he deserves to be — until now. With two starring roles in Rustin and Sing Sing at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), Domingo is finally getting his due.
Who It’s Good For: At this point in my column, I usually reserve this space to tell you which audience my respective picks are for. If you like that, then you’ll like this, etc. Well, the thing about Colman Domingo is that he is so versatile as an actor that there’s a role for everyone. Domingo is one of those character actors who can do anything and be anyone while also bringing a specific gravitas to his work that is so uniquely his own. He has the ability to be disarmingly charming, menacing and masculine, yet soft, understanding, and alluring. Sometimes, he embodies all of these qualities at once. And other times, he picks one and refines it, reflecting it back on screen in a way that makes you look at it in a different light. Like damn, I didn’t know intensity could look like that.
Domingo is one of those character actors who can do anything and be anyone while also bringing a specific gravitas to his work that is so uniquely his own.
When it comes to Domingo’s two performances at TIFF, they are shining examples of his range. In Rustin, directed by George C. Wolfe (Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom), Domingo plays Bayard Rustin, an oft-unsung hero of the Civil Rights movement who was the chief organizer of the March on Washington working alongside Martin Luther King Jr. but took a backseat publicly because of his sexuality. Rustin was a Black gay man at a time when both put a target on your back. (In real life, Domingo is out and has been married to his husband Raúl Domingo since 2014). Still, Rustin stood strong in his identity, his convictions and led a fight that continues to allow for so many Black folks to feel more free today. It’s a bombastic, bold role that calls for the confidence of a performer who can convey the audacity to stand up to MLK Jr. and the vulnerability of someone who was …read more