What Exactly Is 'Antebellum' Trying to Say? : Pop Culture Happy Hour In the new horror film Antebellum, Janelle Monáe plays an enslaved woman on a plantation run by Confederate soldiers. She's desperate to escape. But Monáe also plays a successful contemporary author and speaker with a beautiful family, living a life of success and wealth. But does the film successfully tie the story together? Note: This conversation discusses specific spoiler-y plot points to explore how those roles fit together, break down what's really going on, and whether or not the movie is successful.