The Great Debaters - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Great Debaters Reviews

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½ June 25, 2014
Denzel once again excels in his role because you know he's DENZEL WASHINGTON but the movie around it while inspirational has too many cliches for it to deserve higher than a 3.5 star rating. (In my opinion.)
May 2, 2014

The Great Debaters, a high-concept movie, produced by Oprah Winfrey, and directed by Denzel Washington, the auspicious actor known for his strict, prestigious acting in his previous movies, notably in his role as Herman Boone in "Remember the Titans", where both main characters deal with racism. As a result of this, he received two Golden Globes awards. In this movie he plays Melvin Tolson, the teacher of a debate team. To improve his role, Washington interrogated Tolson's son along with the rest of the cast (Forest Whitaker as James Farmer Sr., Nate Parker as Henry Lowe, Jurnee Smollett as Samantha Booke, Denzel Whitaker as James Farmer Jr. and Williams as Hamilton Burgess) who interviewed actual people. The Movie flourishes down in the depths of the deep dirty south -- The Heart of Texas in a tough period of Racial Segregation, there exists "Wiley College", an all black college. That is why, I believe this movie debates with the fate of the Racial South!

I personally think this movie is simple with 3 major plot points that lead up to the impacting climax. First, was the scene at Tolson's house with copious students trying-out the debate team. Only 4 are permitted to the team namely Henry Lowe, Samantha Booke, James Farmer Jr. and Hamilton Burgess. Second, was the scene when James Farmer Sr. hits a white man's Pig and he is forced to pay $25 dollars as per the demand of the owner of the animal. Mr. Farmer pays $17 dollars from his tuition fee. This later came up during an argument between Mr. Farmer Sr. and his son. The third plot point that ultimately lead up to the climax was the scene showcasing the debate team and their experience seeing a black man being lynched. This later changed their views and made them successful later on. At last, came the climax that was very nice! In my experience, I think this movie shows how this debate team overcome intense obstacles to reach the goals they set.

This movie sets forth many different themes that can be used in real life. One of the major themes taught by Tolson are "Defeat can make you stronger". This was showcased with Samantha Booke against Oklahoma City where they were at the brink of defeat. She managed triumph with great determination and grit them despite their previous loss. Although the many themes of this movie may seem cliche or mediocre comparing it with many other movies, In truth, this movie creates a new opening to these moments and makes them feel special. That is why, this movie shows and feel very worth watching and not just any other movie out there. As you can see, those are my thoughts on the movie overall and its theme.

My name is Mohamed Ali and I watched this movie in my 9th Grade English Class. I am reviewing this movie as an assignment from my teacher. I think this movie was very nice, but is only appropriate for 13 years and older (PG-13). I would honestly give this movie 7/10, nice and well put together. I feel this movie had determined characters that never gave up no matter what obstacle they overcame. They fought for their prerogative as black people and showed Civil Disobedience. Ultimately, the great debaters have changed debating history for ever. Simply Put, the movie sadly came to an end. It will be in my memories FOREVER!!!
March 6, 2014
For all of its fine moments of acting, the picture never rises above it's own formulaic script. It's "Hoosiers" with lesser underdogs but larger moral lessons, and the film itself fails to convince the audience nearly as well as it's own protagonist's real life successes. There isn't anything revolutionary happening here.
½ February 24, 2014
let me start of this review by saying Denzel Washington like some of his movies doesn't make it about his character, he focuses more on the story of the characters and his directing talents are shown within the film. he gives the movie to the actors that are strategically placed within the film that really carry the story that makes it uplifting
½ January 30, 2014
Fueled by Washington at his fiery best and a couple of other good actors, plenty of engaging dialogues and an inspiring story, this is a triumphant feel-good tale that lifts you and makes you applaud the movie just like a good point made in a debate.
December 26, 2013
Rather generic, but still a worthy film. True story about an anti-capitalist teacher in the Deep South who leads his students to beat the Harvard debate team
December 19, 2013
Great acting and dialogue helps make up for a simplistic plot line.
December 14, 2013
Inspirational well-made drama.
½ November 3, 2013
Excellent script and beautiful story. May say also good job of Denzel Washington creating the proper environment for the drama of the time.
½ October 4, 2013
A great cast and some very emotional moments make up for uneven tone and progression.
½ September 29, 2013
A truly inspiring story about honing the mind through education, this film directed by Denzel Washington was a joy to watch. Set against the turbulent times of civil rights movement in US, this is a true underdog story that will make you cheer often and forcefully!
September 18, 2013
Denzel Washington's second directorial effort is a good natured and passionate tribute to an unsung hero of the US racial conflict. While admittedly its story may point to a certain lack in originality, the quality of the performances given by the cast and the screenplay by Robert Eisele makes this period drama stand out from others of the kind.
June 29, 2013
Denzel Washington exhibits pride and enormous aplomb in his directorial debut about the first all-African American debate team going against impossible racist odds to defeat Harvard.
June 28, 2013
Watches this in speech class, and I truly enjoyed it.
½ June 10, 2013
Great Movie. Great Cast. Brought up a lot of feelings in me. The racial issues of 1935 Texas, a very scary thing.
June 5, 2013
Much, much more than Remember the Titans with debating. Denzel Washington dominates this picture with a truly inspiring story of a debate team that rises against the odds. The formulaic story doesn't hurt the film's shining strength, which is the depiction of racism and the sustenance of its true menace throughout the atmosphere of the entire film.
½ June 4, 2013
A conventional, yet inspiring debate tale that has a great performance from Denzel Washington.
½ June 2, 2013
Not Bad. It was a feel good film. It reminded me of a sport movie.
May 27, 2013
It's like Rocky, Stand and Deliver and Mississippi Burning all wrapped into one.
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