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The unforgettable true story chronicles the tumultuous three-month period in 1965, when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. led a dangerous campaign to secure equal voting rights in the face of violent opposition. The epic march from Selma to Montgomery culminated in President Johnson signing the Voting Rights Act of 1965, one of the most significant victories for the civil rights movement. Director Ava DuVernay's "Selma" tells the story of how the revered leader and visionary Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr and his brothers and sisters in the movement prompted change that forever altered history. Written by
Miss W J Mcdermott
The Martin Luther King Jr. estate had already licensed the film rights for his civil right speeches to DreamWorks and Warner Brothers for a yet to be produced biopic. For this film, Ava DuVernay wrote new variations of those speeches. See more »
When Martin Luther King meets in a church basement, modern containers of tempera paint, with pump tops, are behind him. At that time, tempera paint came in powder form and had to be mixed with water. See more »
Film critic Richard Roeper said it best. Selma is a film that provides a history lesson, but doesn't feel like a history lecture. Not one bit.
I foresee a bright future for the director Ava DuVernay and actor David Oyelowo. For DuVernay's second or third effort, it's quite an achievement what she manages to do with this film. For nearly fifteen years she's been working in studio marketing and publicity and her film speaks for itself. She directs the film with flare and keeps the film emotionally grounded. Even though at times you think you know whats coming, DuVernay keeps us at bay and also provides us with some neat surprises. Also give Paul Webb some credit with his sharp screenplay.
David Oyelowo truly embodies MLK. More often than not Selma tends to focus on something not many people tend to expect in a movie about MLK. The script showcases his doubts and insecurities. Oyelowo comes through with a deeply felt and compelling performance. He also nails Dr. King's speech patterns, voice, even his posture and shows that Dr. King has his flaws, but is a compassionate person. I find it hard that anyone will be able to take their eyes off him. What a performance. Shame that it was overlooked by the Academy.
Everyone in the cast brings their "A-game." I liked Carmen Ejogo as Coretta Scott King, but I wanted just a little more of her character, but she makes up the most of what she has. Oprah Winfrey is solid as Annie Lee Cooper. She has a very substantial role and has a nice subplot. Other particular standouts are Tom Wilkinson as President Lyndon B. Johnson, Tim Roth as George Wallace.
Selma takes itself very seriously, there isn't much humor to be found, and any break from documenting its events are often downbeat character moments. However DuVernay's talent is in full blaze. This film is very heavy, but it always grabs your attention, often in the hands of Oyelowo's performance. The March 7th, "Bloody Sunday" sequence is brutal to watch, but DuVernay and cinematographer Bradford Young achieve and deliver quite an intense and impactful set piece. Literally, it hits you in the gut as we watch history forged in flesh and blood.
I am still shocked that this film received so little recognition by the Academy. Oyelowo and DuVernay should have been nominated at the very least. I believe you can blame that to Paramount Pictures as I heard that they did not deliver the screeners on time for the Academy voters. It's a pity.
By the time we arrive at the film's postscript, revealing the fates of several people chronicled by Selma, it's almost impossible not to be moved by their courage and sacrifice. Selma to me, is not just a biopic, but rather a film that celebrates a community action through the eyes of Martin Luther King Jr. This movie sadly, could not be more relevant right now.
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