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Fueled by a gripping performance from David Oyelowo, Selma draws inspiration and dramatic power from the life and death of Martin Luther King, Jr. -- but doesn't ignore how far we remain from the ideals his work embodied.
All Critics (294)
| Top Critics (54)
| Fresh (290)
| Rotten (4)
| DVD (2)
If you don't mind the technical confusion it's a gripping story, and a great credit to DuVernay and co-writer Paul Webb who were unable to use King's original speeches for copyright reasons.
Ava DuVernay's Selma is a beautifully observed drama of public and private lives, of personal narratives and historic moments.
David Oyelowo breathes such life into it and makes you feel like you're seeing this person for the first time.
It's extremely difficult to portray a legendary historical figure in a way that does justice to both that figure's momentousness and his humanity, but Oyelowo has found a way to do it.
Even if DuVernay stumbles a bit when it comes to political sausage-making (really, who knows?), the film is dramatically tight and emotionally true.
A passionate movie, commanding and compelling, all about Martin Luther King and his civil rights march in 1965 from Selma, Alabama, to the state capital Montgomery.
Selma's cultural significance is critical and will inevitably permeate all conversations about the film. As a reviewer, I must stress that its cinematic value speaks for itself, even when you swipe away the context of today's struggles.
Selma serves as a pointed and poignant riposte to our current historical moment. It's an important film about an important story. It deserves to be seen, shared, discussed, and, like the events it depicts, never forgotten.
What makes Selma a truly fine film is the imagery we see.
Director Ava DuVernay has crafted an impressive film that doesn't just chronicle the events in Selma, but serves as an impressive portrait of King both as a leader in the civil rights movement and a flawed family man.
From the intriguing backroom politics to the sacrifices made during the era, director Ava DuVernay and screenwriter Paul Webb turns a well-documented history lesson into essential cinema.
Selma rejects... the false ingenuity of the oscarizable biopic, to bet on a polyphonic story, where Dr. King becomes a cohesive element of a series of social agents essential for a change. [Full review in Spanish]
The story of Martin Luther King's efforts to give black Americans the right to vote in the 1960s is mostly engaging and interestingly portrayed. Some conversations could have used some trimming, there are a few slow parts. But the acting is top notch, especially Oyelowo is fantastic during King's speeches. It is the ending with original footage from the walk that is particularly touching and well done. Especially when you realize what a step backwards we seem to be taking currently.
There is a problem with the revolution: too often the ends are forgotten in times of plenty. Because of that we are often inflicted with poor quality calls to enlightenment whose substance is so poor as to subvert their intended purpose(remember "The Butler"?). The opposite is true here. Masterful historical storytelling whose purpose is never forgotten. Must see.
Such a travesty that David Oyelowo and Ava DuVernay were not nominated for Best Actor and Director Oscars. Oyelowo could and should have easily swept awards season (since McConaissance wasn't in the picture :-P) with his resonant basso and gut-rumbling delivery of MLK's marcato articulation. His dynamic gestures as well as his wide, knowing eyes carry the wins and losses of the Selma protest march and almost foreshadows the tragedy to come.
Ava DuVernay's perceptive direction interweaves several concurrent threads: from the earth-shattering bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church, to Annie Lee Cooper's stalwart struggles to vote, to MLK and Coretta Scott's marital strife.
It's downright depressing to realize that a biopic set fifty some years ago is just as relevant today. Amidst one of our greatest racial upheavals in American history "Selma" tells of a similar fight waged by Dr. King and his supporters in Selma, Alabama, in 1964. Presented with all the depressing truths of a complicated figure in the throes of a revolution, this film relies on a grave performance from David Oyelowo, and a superb and varied supporting cast made up of subtle and yet emotionally devastating performances.
Read more at http://www.bluefairyblog.com/blog/2015/4/1/selma
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