Friday, January 9, 2015

Movie Review: Selma


Selma tells the story of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s, focusing on the march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama in 1965. David Oyelowo is fantastic in the title role, and although the movie is a bit slow in parts, it's definitely worth seeing.

Dr. King (Oyelowo) and his wife, Coretta (Carmen Ejogo), have four children, and he has become the face of the civil rights movement. Although Dr. King has met with the President, Lyndon Johnson (Tom Wilkinson) a few times, he hasn't been able to secure new legislation, and because of that, African-Americans have been having trouble registering to vote (due to intimidation, ridiculous requirements, and other impediments). He and his team decide that Selma, AL would be a perfect place to have a non-violent protest, and they decide to walk the bridge in Selma; this leads to police brutality and is also broadcasted to the world via TV. King and his family and team must struggle to gain equality for African-Americans, in a time when segregation in the South is still rampant and many don't want a fair world.

I would hope that most of you know Dr. King's story - but how well do you know the man himself? I found Selma fascinating in that it gave us a glimpse into his home life, his personal and professional struggles, and just how eloquent a speaker he really was. Oyelowo is great as King, and in fact already has many award nominations, but Carmen Ejogo, as Coretta Scott King, isn't to be overlooked either. Tom Wilkinson as LBJ, Giovanni Ribisi as his advisor, and Tim Roth as George Wallace were also very good. A few A-listers also pop up in small roles, such as Oprah (who also produced the movie), Cuba Gooding Jr., Martin Sheen, Common, and Lorraine Toussaint (aka Vee from Orange is the New Black).

Yes, definitely see this movie. I would have maybe given it 5 out of 5 stars; however, it was a bit slow throughout. Much like 12 Years a Slave, it's a hard film to watch at times, due to murders and brutality, and other malcontent, but it's a film that needs to be watched, as it's a part of our nation's history. I knew the basics about Dr. King, as well as his "I Have a Dream" speech, before seeing the movie, but I learned much more about him, his family, and the struggle, and it made me embarrassed for our nation that everyone didn't have equal rights for such a long period of time (and that some racism is still present today, too). I hope that Selma does well in the Golden Globes race (which is this Sunday, 1/11, by the way) and with such a fantastic cast, it should do well at the box office too.

Selma is in theaters today, January 9th, and is rated PG-13 with a runtime of 127 minutes. 4.5 stars out of 5.

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