Martin Luther King Jr. day is coming, so it only seemed right for the Pix Theater to show Ava DuVernay’s biopic of the amazing preacher/civil rights leader/public speaker, Martin Luther King Jr. Although it doesn’t show his life from birth (which thank God, it doesn’t), it still manages to capture a time in his life when racism was still relevant and people of color didn’t fully get the rights they needed, which lead Martin to fight for equal rights by marching from Selma to Montgomery with tons of people who joined in, making history with each step. They can vote now, but are still faced with prejudice and hate crimes, including violence. That alone makes ‘Selma’ relevant to today’s world of cinema. It came out in late 2014 (just in time for the 2015 Oscars), but its relevancy and social commentary still hold up today when crime and racial issues are heavily on the rise.
David Oyelowo plays Martin Luther King Jr. with a Morgan Freeman voice covering his British accent and a calm demeanor, making you feel his performance for when the character makes his speeches (all too powerful, if I might add.) Carmen Ejogo plays his wife Coretta Scott King, who is on his side throughout the majority of the movie, but is plagued with somewhat disturbing phone calls regarding her and her husband. The other players include Tim Roth as Governor George Wallace, a barely unrecognizable Tom Wilkinson as Lyndon Johnson, Oprah Winfrey as Annie Lee Cooper, Giovanni Ribisi as Lee C. White, Cuba Gooding Jr. as Fred Gray, and Martin Sheen as Frank Minis Johnson. All these actors may seem set up to be Oscar bait, but ‘Selma’ proves itself to be more than that!
This is a film that wants to take us back to a time when things were hard for people of color and wants to let us know of the light that rose in those dark times. ‘Selma’ has a need to show us the cruelty of racism and what it took to get that right. It is a film that inspires us to examine our society as what it is and what we can do to be the best people we can be. It is truly a wake up call for even the most cynical film-goer. The way DuVernay directs each moment is nothing that lacks power. When someone gets kicked, you feel it. The same goes for when the characters say nothing. Ever hear the phrase “Silence is golden”? The term applies to the quiet scenes. The impact each moment brings is something you can get while watching this film. For what it’s worth, ‘Selma’ is an amazing movie and should never be missed by anyone!