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)
Some of the items in the law office were Roycroft antiques. Roycroft was a reformist community of craft workers and artists which formed part of the Arts and Crafts movement in the United States. Elbert Hubbard founded the community in 1895, in the village of East Aurora, New York, near Buffalo. Participants were known as Roycrofters. The work and philosophy of the group, often referred to as the Roycroft movement, had a strong influence on the development of American architecture and design in the early 20th century. See more »
In the early 1940s, Marshall gives Friedman, whose experience is in civil law, books to get him up to speed on criminal law. However, none of the books focus on criminal law. The first, A Concise Restatement of Torts, Second Edition, about civil law, was published in 1965. The two volumes of Wigmore on Evidence are the McNaughton Revision, published in 1961. Evidentiary law discussed in Wigmore applies in both criminal and civil cases, so Friedman, a trial lawyer, would already be familiar with it. The fourth was Volume 308 of the United States Reports, which published all the US Supreme Court opinions for the 1939 October term. See more »
I got to attend an early screening of Marshall tonight. I'm interested to see how critics react. I have a feeling many of them will object to the "paint-by-numbers" approach to the film. While we have not seen Thurgood Marshall represented much in film, it does feel like we've seen this movie more than once before. But that isn't really the point. I've eaten spaghetti and meatballs hundreds of times before. I still enjoy it each time, the same dish, so long as it is made well. And Marshall, while not reinventing any wheels, is made well. Chadwick Boseman leads a terrific cast that includes Josh Gad, Dan Stevens, James Cromwell, Kate Hudson and Sterling K. Brown. Everyone is there to give this very important true story some depth and weight. At the same time, the screenplay never gets too caught up in its own self-importance. While some very dark themes and tragic events are present, there is a sense of humor pervading much of the film. This makes the people and events portrayed in Marshall relatable, instead of feeling like we're watching a group of untouchable, stoic historical figures. Marshall isn't designed to inspire anger or guilt, instead it encourages us to examine examples of unity that have been used to overcome struggle. It has more in common with films like The Help or Hidden Figures, than more aggressive films like Detroit (though that film is very intense and impressive). I would say Marshall will play out just as well at home as it does in a theater, but there is something about seeing it with a crowd that in this case adds to the experience. The gasps of the audience when an atrocity is displayed, the clapping when a bigot loses his/her battle-it is a good film to enjoy with an audience. From a technical standpoint, the film does not go out of its way to impress. The cinematography, costume and production design, music, editing-all seems serviceable if not particularly memorable. In this case its the story and the figures it portrays that you'll remember. 7/10.
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