Score: 9.5 out of 10.
A movie can be a very powerful thing. Sometimes you can express the most encouraging ideas and retell the most heroic ventures through film and when it is done extremely well, it is a true accomplishment of the filmmaker and every one else involved. Selma is a primary example of the great things that movies can do. Whether it be a true story or not, a movie can speak to people in ways that no other medium can. Selma is not only a historic movie about the civil rights movement in the 1960’s, but also an epic event-film in my opinion, that is being overlooked by the general public as of now. However, I have a feeling that as we approach the Oscars, people will be buzzing about this movie non-stop. Now, I’m about to make a statement that I won’t get to say too often in my lifetime, that being that Selma is one of the greatest movies that I’ve ever seen in my life.
Directed by Ava DuVernay, Selma primarily takes place in Alabama during 1965 around the time which Dr. Martin Luther King was trying to get president Lyndon B. Johnson to pass a bill that would ensure African-Americans the right to vote in the south, even though it was technically already legal. The problem was that the officials running the cities in the South made it very difficult for African-Americans to get through the process to being eligible to vote, ultimately making it impossible with the regulations.
The greatness of this movie starts with the direction and the performances, particularly the one performance given by David Oyelowo portraying Martin Luther King. Oyelowo completely transformed and became Dr. King, so much so that if you told me that was really him I would believe it. Before I saw this movie I thought Jake Gyllenhaal in Nightcrawler gave the best performance of 2014 but after seeing Selma, I have to give it to Oyelowo. Also, after hearing all of the Oscar nominations, I am completely outraged that he didn’t even get nominated because I believe he would’ve won best-lead actor, no question. But that’s a topic for another article. (I should mention that I haven’t seen Eddie Redmayne in The Theory of Everything or Bradley Cooper in American Sniper so my opinion is based on the performances I have seen.)
I can’t emphasize enough how greatly this film was directed. Ava DuVernay did such an amazing job and you could imagine how much praise I want to give her but I can’t express it in words. I’ll just say that this was the best, not necessarily my favorite, but the best movie from 2014 in my opinion. It is also absolutely ridiculous that she did not get nominated for best-direction for an Oscar but yet again I haven’t seen every nominee’s film so maybe I’m not qualified to make that statement but I can’t imagine another 2014 movie being better than this.
Other than Oyelowo, I thought there were some other solid performances from the supporting cast. Tom Wilkinson as President Lyndon B. Johnson and Tim Roth as Governor George Wallace were really good in their respective roles. A surprise though was Oprah Winfrey as Annie Lee Cooper. I will admit that I was not looking forward to seeing her in a movie that I was highly anticipating because I thought she would take me out of it. But once I saw her in the film I was really impressed with her performance, even though it was a small role. She didn’t stick out like a sore thumb like I thought she would.
Selma got to me emotionally like no other 2014 movie, not just because it was a great film, but due to the fact that it is based on true events and some of the things that occurred during this time-era were unbearable. Primarily the way African-Americans and the white people who supported them were treated. I’m glad that we as a society are far removed from that racial state-of-mind, even though racism still exists around the world today. Hopefully our species can continue to improve and eliminate hatred and racism all together. Movies like Selma can only help make that possible.
If you’ve seen Selma, did you like it as much as I did or did you see any flaws? Please let us know in the comment section.