A group of U.S. soldiers returning from Iraq struggle to integrate back into family and civilian life, while living with the memory of a war that threatens to destroy them long after they've left the battlefield.
In 1940, Thurgood Marshall is a young lawyer for the NAACP who criss-crosses the country defending innocent African-Americans from unjust indictments in court. His latest case is in Bridgeport, Connecticut where an African-American chauffeur is accused of rape of a wealthy white society woman. To admit Marshall into the local Bar, insurance lawyer Sam Friedman is picked over his objections to do introductions in court. However, Friedman's commitment changes drastically when the racist judge forbids Marshall to speak in court, forcing Friedman to act as lead counsel. Now in an intolerable situation for the pair, Marshall must guide his new compatriot through this criminal trial even as Friedman endures not only this unfamiliar area of law, but also the bigoted pressure he now must share. However, the case proves more complex than either anticipates with unexpected twists and turns even as it becomes a vital one that would define two careers as well as the fight for justice in America.Written by
Kenneth Chisholm (email@example.com)
After services at Temple Rodeph Shalom, the congregants, including Sam Friedman and his family, depart for home. The actual name of that synagogue, then and now, is Congregation Rodeph Shalom. It has always been a Conservative synagogue, and "Temple" has never been part of its name. See more »
Sleek Legal Drama With Great Performances and Excellent Screenplay
Marshall is a sleek legal drama with great performances from Chadwick Boseman as the title character and Josh Gad. Don't be fooled by the snazzy vintage costumes, the real heart of Marshall's success is its screenplay and the chemistry between its lead actors.
This film follows pioneering Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall in his earlier years as a lawyer for the NAACP. A white socialite in Greenwich, Connecticut, accuses a black man of rape and attempted murder. The NAACP believes the man, Joseph Spell, is innocent and sends Marshall to defend him. Marshall enlists local lawyer Sam Friedman (Josh Gad) whose previous track record involves tax or insurance cases. Friedman worries about his family's safety due to the unrest the controversial trial causes. Sam and Thurgood must work together to defend Spell and each other.
This film is very good and so is its screenplay. The touches of comedy bring a welcome balance to its serious topic and difficult history. There is an array of good lines for Boseman and Gad. Several other actors get a chance to shine as well. I appreciate that Marshall takes its subjects seriously, but doesn't take on a dreary tone doing it. The scenes in the courtroom are intense and keep you interested in the action. As the case develops, these scenes get more and more engaging.
While Boseman is very good as Thurgood Marshall, his performance is disappointing considering how hyped his portrayal has been in the film's ad campaign. He gives Marshall a suave personality but the script limits his ability to show off his range and really take the character on a journey. On the other hand, Josh Gad is a standout as Sam Friedman. He plays to his comedic strengths as Marshall's sidekick while also giving a genuinely good dramatic performance as a central and evolved character. He is a nice foil to Boseman and their chemistry reminds me of a buddy cop comedy.
The lesson I take from the film is that you have to follow your moral compass even when it's hard. Sam's unwillingness to join the case makes sense. He is just starting out and worried that it could ruin his reputation. The fact that he does it anyway is a testament to the person Friedman must have been in real life.
I give Marshall an age rating of 14 to 18 because of some racial and offensive language and suggestive and violent content, including depictions of the alleged assault. And my verdict on Marshall? 4 out of 5 stars. Marshall opens in theaters on October 13, 2017 so go check it out.
Reviewed by Benjamin P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic.
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