Richard Brody at The New Yorker:
“The Well” is distinctive in the sheer fact of its characterizations and dramatizations—it depicts, alongside its white characters, a wide variety of Black characters in a wide range of settings (work, school, home, government offices, street life), speaking substantially (if briefly) about the trouble at hand and their views of it. From the start, the movie dispels all ambiguity: Carolyn, who loved flowers, walks through an empty field on the way to school and falls into a long-abandoned well. Her teacher, a white woman, reports her absence to Carolyn’s mother, Martha (Maidie Norman), who informs the town’s sheriff, Ben Kellog (Richard Rober), a white man. Despite the frank assertion of Carolyn’s uncle, Gaines (Alfred Grant), that the police won’t be looking very hard for a Black child, Ben sharply declares and clearly displays his authentic concern, energetically and devotedly sending more or less the entire police force—all white men—to scour the town for Carolyn.