Fish and Cherries Productions

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Reel Snippet – Selma

Selma was probably written with the old Voter ID laws in mind, but with the recent events of Ferguson and Michael Brown in mind, this movie becomes more pertinent now than back in 2008 when they started writing it. In fact, the song at the end hammers the similarities of the acts of today to the segregation state of mind from the Civil Rights Era. The movie itself was very powerful, not shying away from the brutality that awaited the protestors of the time. It delivers a gut punch in the first two minutes and the blows kept coming throughout the movie. It was also really good to show that not all of the violence victims were black, like violence and hate aren’t directed towards only one race.

David Oyelowo as Martin Luther King is great, capturing the full gravitas of someone who has the weight of an entire race on his shoulders in both his vulnerable moments and his inspiring moments. He’s not perfect, either; he makes some mistakes and even a few calls that a lot of people question. In fact, that’s another thing the movie does right: showing that not all of the protestors are fully behind King. It paints the group as dynamic and diverse and shows that they aren’t completely unified, that they’re still people with their own values and points where they won’t bend. Also, Oprah does a great job at playing the beleaguered woman who is denied the right to vote and attacked. The makeup artist was really superb in making her look old and haggard, while the lady herself brought the weary personality to make the whole thing complete.

Since this is a story of true events, it’s hard for me to criticize anything about the script that doesn’t veer too far from history. That said, my one gripe with the story is that Malcolm X shows up and talks to King’s wife about being a counterpoint to King’s methods to get more people following the good reverend and it’s treated as a big deal. A few scenes later, it’s revealed that he died off-screen. It’s such a bizarre choice and I have to wonder what the point was to bring that character in. Regardless, this is still a great movie and it’s great that they found a story to tell about Dr. King that didn’t involve his famous speech, as that seems to be a writer’s go-to for the man. It’s a pity I saw this after I made my Top 13 list or this definitely would have made the cut. As of now, consider it tied with The Imitation Game at number 4, both great stories about great people who face injustice and discrimination for their differences, be they invisible or as plain as their skin color.

Posted under Reel Snippets

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