I saw this movie about a week ago (Shoutout to my Bobby Shmurda fans) but I haven’t had the time to sit down and talk about this film. Sorry, I was on a film shoot and I’m taking an online course during my break and I just bought a Playstation 4. I’m not Superman, you know (not that I would wanna be that boy scout. #Batfleck).
I had been seeing a lot of rave reviews about Selma (2014) and they all said the same thing: That the story is powerful, it’s well filmed, and the acting is impeccable. I was a little reluctant to see the movie at first because I thought it was going to be a Hollywoodized story on a piece of African American history and complete miss the context of what happened in Selma, Alabama in 1965. Much like the reason I don’t wanna see Unbroken (2014)! I walked out of Selma, however, feeling quite moved by what I had just seen.
I liked Selma for all the same reasons that I liked The Imitation Game (2014), you can read my review here. It was a great history lesson that was grounded in realism with its cast. I’ve always loved history – especially U.S. history. I thought this movie gave a great scope as to just how severe the civil rights movement was and how cheated African Americans were for the longest time in our country. The opening scene of this film is very powerful and shows viewers the gravity of what was going on not so long ago and how far we have come as a society; but even now we still have issues with equality.
The cast does exceptional in this period-piece. Especially David Oyelowo. I’m actually pretty pissed he didn’t get a nomination for Best Actor when they announced the nominations last week. His performance was just so humble and reserved, yet so powerful in resonance. He didn’t need that massive flip out moment; he didn’t need to go on some rant about some plot point of the movie; he just acted and consumed the roll of Martin Luther King Jr. I also loved Tom Wilkinson’s portrayal of President Lyndon B. Johnson. He was a very conflicted man who wanted to help Dr. King but also had to put the needs of the rest of the country in front at times. More often than not, I felt the movie was also the story of him. Tim Roth played Gov. George Wallace and I think he may be the worst person in U.S. history. It was certainly a harsh roll for Roth to play but I thought he delivered and made me truly hate this man and what he stood for.
I also really enjoyed the cinematography and techniques they used to film this movie. I found the lighting to often contrast between light and dark (like Caucasian vs. African American) as there were scenes where LBJ’s face would be half over exposed and half way under exposed. The overtones of brown and black really set the mood for the film and showed audiences this definitive contrast of our culture, asking the question if we can overcome it.
Selma turned out not to be the Hollywoodized over exaggeration that I was half expecting. I think having minimal big names in the cast and a very subtle marketing campaign for the film helped that out. I know I already brought up Unbroken but the fact that every other commercial on TV during the holidays was for this movie really REALLY turned me off of it. I’m happy Selma got a nomination for Best Picture and Original Song (rapper Common is in the movie and he helped write and perform a song called “Glory” that is very good) but I do wish it got more recognition; especially for Ava DuVernay’s directing and David Oyelowo’s performance.
Overall Rating: 8.5/10 – Fantastic
Go see it. It’s a powerful film that shows the virtue of man and the struggle to be equal in this crazy mixed up world of our’s.
IMAGES: http://wp.production.patheos.com/blogs/shekhinahcalling/files/2014/12/selma-movie-poster.jpg, https://usatelections.files.wordpress.com/2014/12/selma.jpg?w=1200, https://cmgajcbuzz.files.wordpress.com/2014/12/king.jpg