Movie Review: Selma
While many previous films about Martin Luther King Jr. are usually about the man himself and his legacy. Selma focuses on just one section The march from Selma to Montgomery and the events surrounding that march.
David Oyelowo stars as Martin Luther King Jr and Carmen Ejogo plays his wife Coretta. Starting with the moment he receives the Noble peace prize and moving forward till the day of the march. With the hyper-focus on Selma and the voting rights that were denied including starting with a scene were Annie Lee Cooper (Oprah Winfrey) attempts unsuccessfully to register to vote, the very powerful core of the movie starts strong and never lets down.
Tom Wilkerson plays LBJ who is portrayed as a president who wants to only deal with this when he’s ready. Selma also relies strongly on the wiretap and surveillance that we know occurred by J. Edgar Hoover (Dylan Baker). Selma doesn’t hold back with its portrayal of others like Governor Wallace (Tim Roth) he’s seen thru the lens that history remembers him as today. The struggles of SNCC with MLK and his circle of leaders as well as how the White House viewed King vs Malcolm X are all hinted at but the focus on what happens in Selma, the crank calls Coretta received daily, the audio tapes of King’s affairs sent to Coretta by Hoover, Andrew Young (André Holland), Ralph Abernathy (Colman Domingo) and others who King had advise him are all there. The painful death of Jimmie Lee Jackson (Keith Stanfield), and the televised violence of Bloody Sunday are all there. Selma wants to remind you that the civil rights and voting issues are not as far away as you may think, It seeks to remind you that you could feel a world away from something and still have it touch you. The killing of James Reeb (Jeremy Strong) all are there to put the movement which is not touched on in schools anymore reminder and ignite something in you and it does.
Selma will touch you and it makes you feel. While I didn’t cry since very few things will make me cry I was definitely moved watching this film. Its a powerful reminder of where we have been and what we have faced. By being about the events and not the man you still get David’s powerful characterization but you aren’t overpowered by it. You are more connecting to the supporting characters roles and how this was not a one man show.
My Rating: Full Price
Director: Ava DuVernay
Release Date: January 9, 2015
Run time: 2 hours 8 minutes
MPAA Rating: PG-13