“Those who have gone before us say “no more”! No more!
That means protest! That means march!
That means disturb the peace! That means jail! That means risk! That is hard!”
– Martin Luther King Jr – Selma
A film that has certainly been a long time coming, Selma is definitely one of the absolute must see films of 2015. From former publicist turned director, Ava Duvernay, comes the true story of the late great Reverend Martin Luther King Jr (played brilliantly by David Oyelowo) and The Selma Voting Rights Campaign of 1965.
On the heels of the Birmingham church bombing where four little black girls were killed in 1963 and King receiving the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964, comes the fight for voting rights of black citizens in the state of Alabama. Martin Luther King, Ralph David Abernathy and a group of ministers and activists from the SCLC (Southern Christian Leadership Conference) are recruited by civil rights activists in Selma, Alabama to help spearhead a campaign for the voting rights of blacks in the south.
As King rallies his troops and puts a plan into action, he sets his eyes on marching to Montgomery, Alabama. Soon after King and his followers come under attack from all sides; from the Governor of Alabama George Wallace (played ruthlessly by Tim Roth), the Alabama state troopers, as well J Edgar Hoover and the F.B.I, who keep tabs on the civil right workers and even attempt to bring a rift between King and his wife Coretta Scott(played by Carmen Ejogo for the second time). With perseverance and a little help from President Lyndon Johnson, they overcome all odds in the fight for racial equality.
Selma is Duvernay’s first big shot at a major film of this caliber, and boy did she deliver! With a home run like this, Duvernay has established herself as an up and coming director. Her realistic potrayal of real life events along with the use of stock footage from the actual events of that time make this a very powerful but not too heavy handed drama. David Oyelowo shines as the titular hero of story making himself worthy of Oscar attention; that brings a well rounded cast, strong direction, cinematography, and storytelling to a critical series of events in our nation’s history that deserved it’s chance to be displayed on the big screen. I rate this one a very strong four and a half stars out of five stars.
Review by Sean Daniel Stephens, Austin Texas
Born September 12 1989 in Killeen, Texas, Sean is a Licensed phlebotomist, an aspiring filmmaker and film enthusiast. “Growing up, I always had a love for films. That is how I bonded with family and friends. Along with my love for books, films helped to open up my imagination to new worlds and ideas.”