Selma

Selma

(2014)

One dream can change the world.

David Oyelowo (Interstellar) is the great Martin Luther King in this historical drama detailing the legendary activist, the civil rights marches from Selma to the state capital of Alabama, and President Lyndon B. Johnson’s (Tom Wilkinson) role in the era. Nominated for two Academy Awards including Best Picture.... More

In 1964, Dr. Martin Luther King has just won the Nobel Peace Prize, and enjoys unprecedented access to the White House for an activist. But in Alabama, among other US states, Jim Crow voting laws still enforce racial segregation by making it easy to deny voter registration to black applicants. Traveling to Alabama, King and other activists formulate a plan to challenge the racist state through non-violent means. But the Alabama establishment won't go down without a fight - legal or literal.Hide

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Flicks Review

Don’t write this off as a cynically-pitched, Oscar-bait prestige pic, because in terms of heavyweight history and cinematic clout, Selma delivers. Focusing firmly on the brief but vital period between 1964 and 1966, the film follows Dr. Martin Luther King and the US Civil Rights movement’s campaign of peaceful resistance. The action centres on what King termed “a massive demonstration of moral certainty” - the march from the city of Selma to Alabama state capital, Montgomery, in support of the right for all, regardless of skin colour, to register as voters.... More

Paul Webb’s screenplay hones in on the central figure in the midst of the historical tide, peacefully but emphatically defying “the illusion of supremacy”. Director Ava DuVernay retains a firm grasp throughout, balancing the epic and intimate, personal and political. Anchoring the whole, David Oyelowo avoids two dimensional impersonation with his performance, lending Dr. King depth - flaws, ego, uncertainties and all. The film highlights MLK’s oratory skills, and savvy understanding of the power of mass media to mobilise a nation, whilst drawing powerful parallels with today’s USA, in which poverty equates to inequality.

The supporting cast (Tom Wilkinson, Tim Roth, Martin Sheen, Cuba Gooding Jr, Oprah Winfrey, Giovanni Ribisi, Common, and the powerful Carmen Ejogo, as King’s wife, Coretta), shine throughout. Some may find the two-hour runtime, King’s lengthy speechifying, the no-frills direction and conservative pacing make for a plodding history lesson. But, for me, Selma’s concise writing, assured direction, superb acting, and Bradford Young’s exquisite cinematography, combine to make for powerful drama and a timely reminder that any civilised society excluding citizens on the grounds of prejudice is neither democratic nor civilised.Hide


The Peoples' Reviews

Average ratings from 3 ratings, 3 reviews
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BY thorinoak superstar

With a career defining performance from Oyelowo and a story that is engaging from beginning to end this is more than a worthy Best Picture runner up to Birdman. A true story that is beautifully paced and executed. Superb


BY Gaspardation superstar

I'm almost having a Déjà vu watching this film. It's toooooooo predictable!


BY arlem grader

This film is excellently crafted and avoids trying to deal with too many parts of the whole in depth while still allowing audience to piece together the issues at play surrounding this pivotal event. There are one or two monologues that try to say a bit more than needed but that is understandable given the depth of the issues being covered. Also avoids focusing on any one actor drawcard and all the actors stay true to the message. For those who care, it has no bad language or sex scenes which... More shows a class by the makers.Hide


The Press Reviews

98% of critics recommend.
Rotten Tomatoes Score. More reviews on Rotten Tomatoes

  • The film represents a rare example of craftsmanship working to produce a deeply moving piece of history. Full Review

  • As politically astute as it is psychologically acute... Full Review

  • A necessary film, even an essential one, with more than its share of memorable performances and vivid, compelling sequences. Full Review

  • I have rarely seen a historical film that felt so populous and full of life, so alert to the tendrils of narrative that spread beyond the frame. Full Review

  • Meticulously researched and elegantly scripted... toggles between moments big and small, though everything feels necessary. Full Review

  • Unimpeachably important, ambitious in its scope and handsomely presented, it has all the hallmarks of a trophy winner, for better and worse. Full Review

  • Incredibly powerful and often moving, anchored by an awards-worthy performance from Oyelowo. Full Review

  • A daunting challenge for any actor, Oyelowo rises to the task, in a film that eschews the traditional biopic approach. Full Review

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