Monday, January 12, 2015

Selma - Movie Review

Selma is an historical film directed by Ava DuVernay which recounts the 1965 march and protests in Selma, Alabama which were led by the one and only Martin Luther King, Jr. The movie stars David Oyewolo, Carmen Ejogo, Tom Wilkinson, Tim Roth, Cuba Gooding Jr., Giovanni Ribisi, Martin Sheen, Oprah Winfrey, Dylan Baker, Wendell Pierce, and Common.

The mid 1960's was a turbulent time indeed and especially when it came to achieving racially equality within the United States of America. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr was one of the champions of this cause and his peaceful protests led to accolades like the Nobel Peace Prize and a presence great enough to warrant private meetings with President Lyndon B Johnson. While the conversations King had with the President over voting rights for African Americans ultimately did lead to change, there were also time when marches and protests in the most racially charged parts of the southern states would be necessary to achieve his goals. In 1965, Selma, Alabama became ground zero and a major turning point in the life of Dr. King and for the equality he so desperately sought.

For being a relatively new director in the Hollywood landscape, Ava DuVernay has been handed a pretty serious responsibility in putting this story on the silver screen and she does a great job in justifying that decision. Selma is a very clean and well put together film that hits all the right notes in telling a story that is as emotionally powerful as it is historically important. When it comes to portraying the violent acts that are peppered throughout this story, she doesn't hold anything back as she realizes these moments are the emotional touchstones that really inform the audience of why Dr. King was so adamant about his cause and doing things the right way. Also, David Oyelowo deserves all the credit in the world for giving us a performance that, from what I can tell, is a true reflection of the man and an in depth look into who he was during more private moments. Overall, the cast was pretty phenomenal from Tom Wilkinson as President Lyndon B. Johnson to hip hop artist Common as James Bevel, one of King's closest confidants.

Selma is definitely one of the better movies you will see this year and is one I would highly recommend, not only for its entertainment value, but also for the historical significance of the story being told.


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