Selma was great. I'm not sure if it's best film of the year great, but it is fantastic.
David Oyelowo was transcendent in this performance, but I actually thought some of the supporting cast members were even superior.
Carmen Ejogo as Coretta, but Stephan James as John Lewis was the real standout to me.
The actors that played John Lewis and James Forman, being the founders of SNCC and the conflict they had with MLK Jr. and SCLC was phenomenal, and not something that I have seen in other films about the civil rights movement. Not that it entirely matters, but it's insane how Stephan James LOOKED like John Lewis.
There's been a bit of a tussle on whether the film is completely accurate in regards to LBJ and his role that he played in the movement and opposing King. I spent a semester at my university going over the movement, and I'm not saying I know the answers, but I do know that LBJ took his liberties and time in order to support SCLC and King. There was definitely a vast difference in portrayal between LBJ and Kennedy, that much is certain.
Another thing that I loved about the film is how strong they portrayed Coretta. The courage it takes for a woman to put her own life as well as her families life in danger by staying with a man so profound at the time was unprecedented, especially considering how he had marital infidelities that were quite well-known. It's a lesser known fact (well, of course there are those who don't believe it) that MLK was an adulterer, and I felt the film handled it very well. It's not a huge chunk of the film, but it is there.
The film didn't touch me as much as I thought it would, but that is probably because I know that time and era much better than anything else, but it still did get to me at times.
As someone who is in awe of this generation and the power that people had to change the livelihoods of those that were oppressed, along with the nuances of competing groups like the black muslims, SNCC, and SCLC, this is probably as good as we're ever going to get about an actual feature film about this generation.
I saw @Bakajin
's review and I agree with it mostly, and I do agree that the grassroots empowerment that Selma had was definitely underplayed, but the mere presence of SNCC, John Lewis, and James Forman were a welcome addition. One thing that I took away from my time studying this era was that the different groups didn't necessarily see eye-to-eye on the approach to overturn their prejudices. SNCC, CORE, SCLC, MFDP, COFO, etc., all played a part in helping achieve the successes in the late-60s, but they definitely had their clashes in terms of ideologies. Were they as radically different as those of say Malcolm X and the black muslims? No, of course not, but they definitely existed. Case and point was the evolution of the John Lewis lead-SNCC to the days of Stokely Carmichael, which became more radical in ideology. This wasn't a film about SNCC (And frankly, although I'd love to see it, a film about SNCC isn't going to make a ton of money), but they were represented here.
For anyone interested in learning more about this movement, there isn't a better documentary than Eyes on the Prize, produced by PBS. Extremely comprehensive, and as engaging as any film you'll ever watch not he subject.
And for any of the readers out there, In Struggle by Clayborne Carson. It heavily revolves around the evolution of SNCC, but does cover the entire era pretty comprehensively. Dense, but well worth the time.Edited by JapanAir21 - 1/10/15 at 2:28am