Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

An astounding, unflinching look at the lives of the people who live and work within the criminal justice system, Chinonye Chukwu’s Clemency is not your typical “prison drama.” Alfre Woodard stars as rigid prison warden Bernadine Williams with Aldis Hodge as her foil, Anthony Woods, a death row inmate whose sentencing is being protested just outside Williams’ door. And though on opposite sides of the law, Clemency resists painting Williams and Woods into boxes, revealing both to be victims, of sorts, to the larger systems at work. Earlier this month, we spoke with Woodard and Hodge about the film’s potential to educate audiences about the realities of capital punishment, and learned how they prepared for their roles by visiting prisons across the country.

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