Selma (2014)


Pros
  • Martin Luther King Jr. is flat out one of the greatest Americans of all time
  • A very unexpected opening scene
  • David Oyelowo's portrayal of MLK is fantastic, one of the best performances of the year
  • Very strong supporter cast members, though there are a lot, they're great 
  • Amazing to see the impact of a single death and how hard it affected Dr. King, every single time he took it so hard
  • The violence is very harrowing and sad, but so very necessary
  • The interactions between Dr. King and LBJ were interesting (even though the portrayal is somewhat off)
  • Uplifting to see the impact the first attempt to cross the bridge had on people of all colors, the support that brought
  • I enjoyed the end of the film telling us the fate of certain characters, even though some were very sad
  • An all around eye opening experience into the darker times of the United States history

Cons
  • His family life storyline is left in the air, more or less a random subplot to doesn't really go anywhere conclusive
  • The main complaint from most people (including myself) is LBJ and his involvement, he as seen as being MLK biggest obstacle, when if real life he greatly supported and aided the movement, it was actually his idea to march in Selma
  • Why introduce Malcolm X and then completely dump him moments later?
  • If you are looking for a more accurate movie about the life of Dr. King, look for a documentary about this subject matter
  • The theme song of the movie by the rapper Common is completely off kilter, it does not fit the tone of the movie at all

Score: 8/10

Selma is a good movie about a great human being. I'll admit I didn't know much about the actual events, so the movie was quite interesting. The movie focuses on a pivotal moment during the Civil Rights Movement, which focuses on Martin Luther King Jr. trying to march from Selma to Montgomery. Selma is told with a solid amount of emotion, the events the movie portrays really gets your blood boiling because of how arrogant and hateful people could be back then. This is a powerful movie about a powerful individual who united thousands of people for one great cause and the movie itself truly captures the spirit of Dr. King very well. The acting is, of course, phenomenal, some of the best of the year, especially when you hear David O's natural voice!

But what really held Selma back was the whole LBJ storyline and how they made him out as more of a bad buy more than anything else. After the movie, I went and read about the events and a lot of other people out there agree (or were upset) about how the directed made him look. He was actually the one who gave MLK the idea to go to Selma and protest there, not Dr. King. He also was a very strong supporter of the Civil Rights Movement and was constantly (but secretly) working on solving the situation on a legislative level. So if you are looking for a more factual movie about the events that took place, look for a documentary rather than this. Don't get me wrong, this is an eye-opening movie, but it does have it's weaknesses, particularly the portrayal of LBJ and Dr. King's personal life storyline, which is quite brief and doesn't really add much to the story.

Outside of those complaints, the movie sends a very strong message and a great one at that. Is this movie the Best Picture of the year? No, it's a good movie with a heart at the center of the story, but it lacks the energy and gut punching ability that 12 Years a Slave had last year to make it truly something special.