Howdy ladies and gents, time for another new film review and today I’ll be talking about Selma. Now considering how stingy my local cinema is when it comes to films of this nature, I thought I wouldn’t get the chance to see this, but me and friend checked it out today and now I’m ready to pass on my thoughts.
The premise for the film is as follows:
“A chronicle of Martin Luther King’s campaign to secure equal voting rights via an epic march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama in 1965.”
Emotions, that’s what this film made me feel, pure emotions. Films that deal with the struggle of black people will always hit home (being a black guy myself) and each time I watch a film like this I feel incredible levels of pain, but also gratitude for what the black people of the past had done for us people today. The film deals with a very specific period of the civil rights movement and not only displays from the perspective of King, but his family, followers and the politicians as well. It is great to see King rise to the occasion and fight for his people, but also face impossible odds that seemed stacked up against. This film does not shy away from the brutality of history, there is violence of the verbal and physical kind, but it is the physical which is hard to watch as black people are shot, beaten and whipped in a disgusting manner and one can only imagine what it would have been like to witness this first-hand. However this needed to be shown as it does show the cruel world we used to live in. In some ways I see some parrells to the film Fruitvale Station, while both films have very different source material, there is one major similarity I found: black people getting unlawfully beaten and killed at the hands of white law enforcers with the people responsible weren’t held accountable for their crimes because of crooked legal system and racism. Anyway back to this film, I thought the story was raw, painful, beautiful and uplifting, it moved at a decent pace and hit all the right emotional beats.
When it comes to the cast this film has a pretty substantial amount of famous faces and if you know your film and TV stars then you’ll spot a lot of famous faces. Since there are literally too many people to mention I’ll try to be brief and highlight my favourite people.
David Oyelowo as Martin Luther King, Jr., wow, what a performance. Oyelowo is an actor I’ve liked for a while now, but this is clearly his best performance to date as he transforms himself completely and delivers his lines with such passion, intensity and his physicality also makes you feel like you are watching King right there in the cinema. Tom Wilkinson was also very good as Lyndon B. Johnson, Wilkinson is one of those actors who shows up in a lot of films but here he has a more substantial role and does a very good job. Tim Roth also does a great job as George Wallace, while Carmen Ejogo as Coretta Scott King delivered a solid performance too and then there’s Wendell Pierce from The Wire) as Hosea Williams who was lovely. I also loved seeing Ruben Santiago-Hudson (from Castle) here as Bayard Rustin, Common was also good as James Bevel, Cuba Gooding, Jr. as Fred Gray was a lovely surprise, while the appearances by Oprah Winfrey and Martin Sheen as Annie Lee Cooper and Frank Minis Johnson were small yet effective. Then there’s Giovanni Ribisi as Lee C. White, Andre Holland as Andrew Young, Lorraine Toussaint as Amelia Boynton Robinson, Niecy Nash as Richie Jean Jackson and Tessa Thompson as Diane Nash who did great too.
In conclusion Selma is a well-directed film with an incredible cast, a well-executed story and beautiful soundtrack. Though hard to watch at times, I did feel quite empowered after I left the film, I would have enjoyed the film a lot more had the projection people has fixed the sound problems that happened throughout the film! But anyway, go out and watch this film, it deserves your time and you too will see it got robbed at the Oscar nominations ages ago.
So have you seen Selma and if so what did you think of it? Be sure to leave your thoughts in the comments below and I’ll see ya on the next review, laters! 🙂