Review: Shirley


Title: Shirley
MPA Rating: PG-13
Director: John Ridley
Starring: Regina King, Lance Reddick, Terrence Howard
Runtime: 1 hr 57 mins

What It Is: Shirley Chisholm (King) was the first black woman to ever be nominated to a seat in the United States Congress. She’s not quite done setting the bar higher and higher though. Now she wants the big seat. President of the United States of America. Now black person (let alone a woman) had, at that point, ever held the office. Through trials and tribulations (many gender and racially biased) Shirley will run her race towards the White House. Her target, the 1972 Democratic National Convention.

What We Think: Regina King is an absolute gem of an actress and we are lucky to get to watch her work. She personifies the unwavering spirit of Shirley Chisholm with such ease. John Ridley directs here a script of his own writing. Ridley, an Academy Award winning screenwriter doesn’t put his BEST foot forward here but he nonetheless does a great job of structuring a film that holds our attention even if it falls flat in the end. This is a film that loses some steam in it’s last third. Not from an absolute lack of carrying by King. Rest in Power to Lance Reddick I believe this was his last role prior to his untimely passing. You. Are. Missed amigo.

Our Grade: C+, A perfectly sufficient historical biopic. I love that we’re getting these biopics of important Civil Rights icons. People who went against the grain simply because they existed differently than the expected. This is the film that Selma is, it isn’t even Rustin level. It is the level right below. Still a decent film and worth a try from Netflix. More Black voices making Black stories is always a welcomed thing. They can’t all be wins though. This one is SO CLOSE to being a win.

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