By Nico Beland
Movie Review: A+ (4 stars)
We all know about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and what a big role he had in American history during the Civil Rights Movement. He fought for civil rights for all, no matter what color or gender they are.
Dr. King’s powerful “I Had A Dream” speech continues to be studied in public schools and remembered by Americans everywhere. Not to mention there were lots of documentaries, movies, and shows about Martin Luther King, the one I remember the most is The Boondocks season 1 episode, Return of the King where Martin Luther King comes back.
Now this new movie, a historical drama about Martin Luther King leading African-American citizens from Selma, Alabama to Montgomery to fight for their civil rights in America. I am of course talking about Selma, directed by Ava DuVernay (Scandal), produced by Oprah Winfrey (Precious, The Butler, The Hundred-Foot Journey) and starring frequent collaborator with Precious director, Lee Daniels, David Oyelowo (The Paperboy, The Butler) as the man who had a dream.
The film chronicles the three-month period in 1965 where African-Americans were segregated from white people, beaten and murdered by white people, and were not allowed to vote. A public speaker known as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. steps up and leads a dangerous campaign to claim equal rights for African-Americans in the face of violent opposition.
The march from Selma, Alabama to Montgomery reaches a climax when President Johnson (Tom Wilkinson-Sense & Sensibility, The Full Monty, The Green Hornet) signs the Voting Rights Act of 1965, thus granting civil rights to African-Americans.
Overall, Selma is a wonderful telling of what happened during the Civil Rights Movement, the drama is very solid and the intensity is uncomfortably cruel, but not quite as graphic as 12 Years a Slave. David Ovelowo does an amazing job portraying Martin Luther King, hearing him give a speech almost convinced me that he actually was Dr. King, a very similar to feeling to when Daniel Day-Lewis portrayed Abraham Lincoln in Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln.
It’s nice to see Hollywood do films based on the real life events of struggling African-Americans who step forward and say “No more” with films like 42, The Butler, 12 Years a Slave, and now this movie. Whether you’re white or black, this is a movie for every American citizen to see, if you can get past some of the unsettling intense moments, the performance by David as Dr. King and the overall telling of the story should be enough to win you over.
Not to mention the film was released at a perfect time since it’s almost Martin Luther King Day, I’m certain lots of people are going to see the movie on that day. And you should see it on Martin Luther King Day; it’s an intense but inspirational story about a man who fights for the good of the country and changed America forever.
We are all grateful to acknowledge what Martin Luther King did for all of us, and now we have a movie depicting how he gave civil rights to African-American citizens that I’m sure we will all be watching for generations to come.