Monday, March 2, 2015


Selma - 128min - PG13

I am honored to be in a society that was blessed to include Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. I remember reading about the march in Selma. But it was out of a school book. It lacked the depth to show how compelling this story truly is. It is set in a time where racism is prevalent. The start of the civil rights movement was a dangerous time. This is a green light film that leaves you with much to think about. I recommend you see this movie with someone else so you can enjoy the conversation this movie will undoubtedly create.

Dr. King (David Oyelowo), fighting against voting inequality, heads down to Selma to stage a peaceful protest. The small town is the backdrop of the bigger fight between Governor Wallace (Tim Roth) and the changing views of America under the leadership of President Johnson (Tom Wilkinson). The first march was attacked by state troopers. Being televised it was a galvanizing event in the civil rights fight. Dr. King calls on everyone who feels that people are equal to come and march with them. Together thousands marched from Selma to Montgomery but not without its costs.

This film had me engaged from the moment it started. This is the kind of movie that sparks some wonderful conversation about its themes and some of the history we have been through. It would be easy for historical films that focus on race and how we as a country have fought long and hard for equality to push an agenda in today's political struggles. This movie does set the stage for conversations that could include racial views today but keeps focused on what has happened on the past.

David Oyelowo is remarkable as Dr. King. The sprit of the man faced with such a hard choice in a world on the brink of change can be seen in his demeanor and his face. The enormity of the journey and its impact on us as a people can be felt in every word delivered on screen. Tom Wilkinson has always impressed me as a performer and in this production he raises the bar. He has a line in this movie that really resonates with me and should resonate with all political figures. I am going to horribly butcher the real line but I am paraphrasing. "We should not be thinking about 1965 we should be thinking of 1985, and how they will see us when they look back." Simply powerful.

Ava DuVernay is now one of my favorite directors. This picture masterfully tells a very moral story without beating us over the head with morality. She tells us the events that happened and gives us a glimpse into the personal lives of those affected. Her work on this picture gives us all a connection point to our shared history and should be listed among the other directors up for consideration for best director.

Removing race and gender from the argument the movie stands on its own merits to be considered for best director. It's almost too ironic that a black woman who did a stellar job, making a spot-on movie about inequality gets overlooked by an Academy that is primarily white males. Her work clearly out matches anything else on the ballot.

What do you think about the lack of diversity in the Academy?

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