Review: Selma


Title: Selma
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Director: Ava DuVernay
Starring: David Oyelowo, Carmen Ejogo, Tom Wilkinson
Runtime: 2 hrs 7 mins

What It Is: The story of Martin Luther King Jr. (Oyelwo) and his help in the fight to restore voting rights to Southern Blacks, particularly in Alabama which is run by bigot Governor George Wallace (Tim Roth). It is here in a small rural city called Selma that MLK and his freedom fighter will stage a protest until their voting rights are restored. Meanwhile we have president Lyndon B. Johnson (Wilkinson) dealing with several issues including increased pressure to assist Dr. King the struggle. At home Dr. King has to deal with his own demons, and those that are exposed thanks to FBI wiretapping and planted “evidence” of various infidelities. As things heat up so to do the tension, and like a rubber band we are witness to just how far that rubber will go before it snaps.

What We Think: This is breathtaking film. From David Oyelowo’s stellar and near flawless approach to Dr. King, to Roth’s screen chewing mastery of Wallace the performances drive this brilliant piece of cinema forward. It’s with a keen eye, and subtle hand that DuVernay directs the delicate material and it is a crying shame she did not receive a nomination for Best Director at this years Oscars. DuVarney’s biggest accomplishment is making the film ebb and flow with tension and heartache. There’s moment when all seems lost and then it turns to hope… to possible glory. Never does that feel forced or synthetic, it’s just natural and her direction is the cause.

Our Grade: A+, This is a film that will and should be shown in school across America. It’s an affecting piece that doesn’t come off as trying to shock so much as it does shock by it’s pure honesty. The manner in which Oyelwo captures Dr. King is fascinating and his delivery is much in the way of Dr. King both archaic and ferocious. It shed light on Dr. King as an imperfect hero, a mean that despite his inherent flaws was a good man fighting an important cause. A cause whose message is as frighteningly relevant in today’s society as it was back in 1964. Plan B continues to produce real stories that are get to the core of an issue without coming off preachy or overly sentimental. Keep it Brad Pitt! You won’t win your second prodcuing Oscar this year but that’s a helluva role they’re on!

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