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 (firstname.lastname@example.org)
At the end of the movie, Marshall is shown dropping some coins into a pay phone in Mississippi to call Friedman in Connecticut to see what the verdict in the case was. Although that's how it would have happened 20 or 30 years later, in 1941, it would have involved first calling Central, who would have than called a hub which would have established a trunk line to New York City, and so on. The whole process might have taken all day to make that long distance call. See more »
Growing up one of the first influential black figures I learned about was Supreme Court Judge Thurgood Marshall. While my life didn't veer in the path he took, it was a chance for me as a young black male to see the dedication and time he took to his craft and where it could take you. Almost 2 decades have passed since then, and found myself surprised to see a film finally based on him and his capabilities. While the younger me was excited, I found myself wondering how this film would hold up side by side with other black period films like itself in recent history.
Thurgood (Chadwick Boseman) is working in the NAACP when he is tapped for a court case of the accusation of a black male rumored to have raped a woman and thrown her off into the river and left for dead. While he travels to Connecticut for the trial, he finds himself hard pressed given he is a out of town lawyer unfamiliar to the client, and is left to have a inexperienced attorney (Josh Gad) to speak on his behalf in court. While Thurgood knows most of the material and how to move in court, he has to show Josh's character the way to observe things his way.
The performances are all relatively solid by no surprise given the cast. Josh Gad is able to sell the inexperienced character almost having to be hand held through every decision made in the courtroom. Also the development of him progressively becoming more confident as time goes forward. The writing in the courtroom is interesting enough to keep you invested in knowing what's the truth and the holes in one plaintiff and defendants stories.
Alas, my biggest issue with the film is really the lasting impact. While it is perfectly watchable in the moment, I felt as if a story like this should have had more lasting impact than what I saw given it's a film in a movie theater. It's not as riddled with clichés like preceding films I've seen in the past, but misses a strong distinctive voice. For some the issues I had with Hidden Figures, I at least know who the target audience was for the film and what they wanted to take from the movie. Marshall doesn't really have that same feeling. The writing is never bad, but never as sharp as it feels like it should be until the second half when more gets revealed.
Marshall in a nutshell I would say is "almost there" as a movie. Fine within the moment but leaves a bit desired when the credits rolled. I wouldn't turn anyone away from seeing this, but may be best suited seen at home.
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