Film Review: ‘Selma’ a Powerful Reminder that History Does Repeat

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Average: 5 (1 vote)

CHICAGO – With exquisite timing, the historical docudrama “Selma” will ring in 2015, and adds to the race-oppression-in-America debate that everything old is new again. Set in 1965, it is the courageous story of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and the ordinary citizens that fought for the right to vote.

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 5.0/5.0
Rating: 5.0/5.0

The events unfold calmly and forthrightly in the film, as Dr. King and his divided civil rights movement start another journey, to assure voting rights for the African American citizens of Alabama in the town of Selma, denied to them by a segregationist government and supporting citizens (including the police). It is an emotional and human film, highlighting the titanic struggle of Dr. King, the African American citizens of Alabama (who braved beatings and murder), and a United States government and judiciary bent not on necessarily doing the right thing, but the most politically expedient thing. As we come back to our current debate regarding Ferguson, Cleveland, New York and other areas of this country, we ask again “are we truly equal, and aren’t all persons created that way?”

In 1965, the city of Selma, Alabama, is still denying voting rights to black citizens, as represented by a elaborate test given to Annie Lee Cooper (Oprah Winfrey) that she can’t possible pass. Local civil rights activists begin counter protests to the denials, and controversially call in Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (David Oyelowo), two years after his “I Have a Dream” speech.

Dr, King is getting push back from student leaders and others, bent on more direct confrontation than his non-violent resistance. King’s presence in Selma is immediately seen a threat to both Governor George C. Wallace (Tim Roth) and the political maneuverings of President Lyndon B. Johnson (Tom Wilkinson). When King and the Alabama voting rights supporters attempt three different crossings of the Edward Pettis bridge in Selma, to march to the State Capitol, three historic confrontations of the civil rights movement occur.

“Selma” has a limited release in Chicago on January 1st, 2015, and opens everywhere on January 9th. Featuring David Oyelowo, Giovanni Ribisi, Tim Roth, Cuba Gooding Jr., Oprah Winfrey, Tom Wilkinson, Carmen Ejogo, Common, Martin Sheen and Wendell Pierce. Written by Paul Webb. Directed by Ava DuVernay. Rated “PG-13”

StarContinue reading for Patrick McDonald’s full review of “Selma”

David Oyelowo
Truth Keeps Marching: David Oyelowo as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (center) in ‘Selma’
Photo credit: Paramount Pictures

StarContinue reading for Patrick McDonald’s full review of “Selma”

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