Director Ava Duvernay brings us the story of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his collaborators during a specific period in the civil rights struggle. Never told before on film and with an extraordinary cast, the movie’s theme is as relevant today as in the 1960s.
David Oyelowo takes the difficult role of playing Dr. King convincingly and the other cast members support him in a memorable way, however is the story behind Selma that really impacts the viewer. Besides the fight for equality, we also watch the humanity and vulnerability of a leader whose intention and vision never faltered while encountering great obstacles and personal suffering. The details are painfully intrusive, revealing Martin’s alleged affairs, the FBI’s surveillance of all his activities even inside his most sacred place, home, and also his courage when facing President Johnson (Tom Wilkinson).
Although his personality and leadership is central to the story, this is not a MLK biopic, but rather, a brief inside look at all the participants in one of the most definitive moments in American history.
Written by Paul Web and with a touching song by Common and John Legend called Glory, Selma is one the best historical dramas recently filmed.
I would not be fair if I’d highlight only one or two of the great acting performances here. But you’ll see portrayals of historical figures that you might have not seen before: Coretta Scott King, Annie Lee Cooper, Andrew Young, Chief Wilson Baker, John Lewis, and others you might have: J. Edgar Hoover, Malcolm X. Each of them makes a complete picture of the times and people that Selma recreates.
See also directed by Ava Duvernay: 13th
See also starring David Oyelowo: Lee Daniel’s The Butler (2013), Shoot the Messenger (2006)
“In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” -MLK