Monday, February 16, 2015

Movie Review: Selma

The film opens with Martin Luther King, Jr. (played to perfection by David Oyelowo) practicing his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech. In contrast we see folks leaving a church, dressed up little girls on a staircase, when a bomb blast hits. This sums up 1964 and 1965 – a time of struggle and change in the Civil Rights Movement. The movie Selma looks at a small snipped of history – the peaceful march from Selma to Montgomery – the background, the discussions, the behind the scenes negotiations with President Lyndon Johnson (Tom Wilkinson), the hatred and the vitriol in the South, and the determination of African Americans to be able to vote without struggle.  

This is not a documentary and there have been arguments over some aspects of the film’s viewpoint of the White House actions. However, when it comes down to the people – to a woman trying to register to vote and being denied because she can’t name every county judge in Alabama  - Selma is a powerful movie with an excellent story to tell. The emphasis was on peaceful protest, and ultimately it did help the cause when a broader spectrum of the populace joined the cause. Priests and other clergy joined arms with Dr. Martin Luther King to preach a message of peace and to walk with him in Alabama.  

Excellent filmmaking and a formidable story to tell earned Selma an Oscar nomination. So many good movies this year, I don’t think it will win but it’s worth viewing. David Oyelowo embodies the spirit  of Dr. King. The Oscar nominated song “Glory” sung by John Legend soars over the end credits. You’ll march out of the theater contemplating history and a man. 


  1. Thanks for the review. I knew a priest from my college who marched in Selma.

  2. This sounds like an interesting movie. Thanks for the review.

  3. This sounds like an interesting movie. Thanks for the review.

  4. I worry about how accurately those times in history are portrayed. In The Butler, there's a moment where a slave owner takes of of his slaves and rapes her, then when he comes back out and the slaves husband says "Um... sir?" the owner casually shoots him in the head with his son watching. I find it hard to believe (or don't want to believe) that it was as bad as that.

    1. I do believe a lot that is portrayed is taken from journals written back in the day or stories handed down. I frankly do believe that a large portion of slaves were treated horrifically. I also do think, I as a white female born in 1958 and raised suburban middle class, have no clue as to how blacks were treated in the South in the 60s. Nor do I really know what occurs today. Is there progress? baby steps

  5. I also thought the movie was very well done. David O. really looked and sounded like Martin Luther King Jr. Though Oprah only had a small role, she brought me to tears during the scene where she tried to register to vote. The movie portrayed LBJ in a very unflattering light which did receive criticism.


  6. I haven't seen this, but I've heard good things about it. Thanks for the review!