Selma - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Selma Reviews

January 19, 2015
Needless to say, Dr. King's message has never been more relevant.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
January 12, 2015
More often than not ... "Selma" focuses on the one thing we don't expect in a movie about Martin Luther King Jr. - his doubts - and Oyelowo comes through with a deeply felt and quite brilliant performance.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
January 9, 2015
This is a film about work: the work at hand, the work it takes to do the work, and, for an audience in 2015, the question of whether the work worked.
January 9, 2015
Vivid, nuanced and, yes, timely.
Read More | Original Score: 4/4
January 9, 2015
Like Dr. King did, the film captures your mind and your heart as it entertains, the way great movies often do.
Read More | Original Score: 3.5/4
January 9, 2015
An uneven yet generally skillful effort that has probably drawn more praise and criticism than it warrants.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
January 9, 2015
This is what Selma dares to do so well: show us the small, private moments in King's life, the intimacies, the humanity.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
January 8, 2015
As a film, Selma is solid if unspectacular. As a dramatic portrayal of recent U.S. history, however, Selma burns with a fierce intensity.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
January 8, 2015
We see history as it unfolds, not as it has been encased in amber, in a movie that needs to be seen in these anxious days of renewed racial and cultural unrest.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
January 8, 2015
The movie is riveting. It reminds us not only of how far we have come as a society but how far we have yet to go.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
January 8, 2015
It may be coincidence that Selma reverberates with a particular timeliness...Still, it's thanks to director DuVernay and first-time features writer Paul Webb that the film has more than the luck of timing on its side.
| Original Score: 5/5
January 8, 2015
What Daniel Day-Lewis did for Lincoln, Oyelowo does for King, mimicking his behavior and speech uncannily. He is both completely believable and someone we've never encountered before.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
January 8, 2015
To see "Selma" is to feel and appreciate anew the burden of greatness.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
January 8, 2015
In an era of comic-book movies, "Selma" is an impressive reminder of the real-life struggle for human dignity.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
January 8, 2015
A somber and distressingly relevant tribute to King and his fellow compatriots in the civil-rights movement of the 1960s.
Full Review | Original Score: 4.5/5
January 8, 2015
History becomes breathtaking drama in "Selma"; there's an urgent realism in the storytelling, as if we're seeing this just in time. And indeed we are ...
Read More | Original Score: 4/4
January 7, 2015
Director Ava DuVernay...wisely shifts the emphasis away from the person - it's hard to make a movie about a saint, even a secular one - and onto the process.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
January 6, 2015
"Selma" demands to be seen now and by the generations that follow.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
January 4, 2015
Selma is an important history lesson that never feels like a lecture. Once school is back in session, every junior high school class in America should take a field trip to see this movie.
Read More | Original Score: 4/4
January 2, 2015
This is lucid in its political analysis and sobering in its depictions of racially motivated violence, though it sometimes comes off as stolid.
January 2, 2015
If not quite in quality then certainly in import and impact, this is the film of the year - of 1965 and perhaps of 2014.
December 31, 2014
This is no soup-to-nuts King biopic.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
December 26, 2014
A stately, sober film, at times uplifting and at others agonizing.
December 26, 2014
If "Selma" is limited by the kind of film it needed to be and by what its studio proprietors wanted to sell, it's still the best and most intimate fictional portrayal of the civil rights movement, by a long shot.
December 26, 2014
A major part of the film's success, however, lies in Oyelowo's masterful portrayal.
Read More | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
December 26, 2014
DuVernay's most remarkable accomplishment may be that with such passion-inspiring material, she has made such a measured, resolute and levelheaded film.
Full Review | Original Score: 8/10
December 25, 2014
At its best, Ava DuVernay's biographical film honors Dr. King's legacy by dramatizing the racist brutality that spurred him and his colleagues to action.
December 24, 2014
There's a stirring freshness to the cinema of "Selma," and it's not just because of Bradford Young's rich, moody photography.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
December 24, 2014
There's a powerfully nuanced and award-worthy performance by David Oyelowo as Martin Luther King.
December 24, 2014
"Selma" is a necessary film, even an essential one, with more than its share of memorable performances and vivid, compelling sequences.
December 24, 2014
Its timeliness is a spine-chilling reminder that those who do not know their history are doomed to repeat it. Its story provides a blueprint not only of the past, but of the way forward.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
December 24, 2014
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.
December 23, 2014
"Selma" invites viewers to heed its story, meditate on its implications and allow those images once again to change our hearts and minds.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
December 23, 2014
An insightful look into the making of a historic moment; Oyelowo raises the roof as MLK.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
December 23, 2014
Hollywood's definitive depiction of the 1960s American civil rights movement - as well as perhaps the most timely movie you'll see this year.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
December 23, 2014
Meticulously researched and elegantly scripted by debuting screenwriter Paul Webb, Selma toggles between moments big and small, though everything feels necessary.
Full Review | Original Score: 5/5
December 23, 2014
With Selma, DuVernay has pulled off a tricky feat, a movie based on historical events that never feels dull, worthy, or lifeless; it hangs together as a story and not just part of a lesson plan.
Top Critic
December 23, 2014
As cinema, Selma is commendable; as cultural barometer, it's beyond reproach.
Full Review | Original Score: B
December 23, 2014
This is real American history being made, you think - and regular Americans making it. But then, those are the Americans who always do.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
December 23, 2014
DuVernay's look at Martin Luther King's 1965 voting-rights march against racial injustice stings with relevance to the here and now. Oyelowo's stirring, soulful performance as King deserves superlatives.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
December 23, 2014
This is an intellectual approach to an emotional issue - and it delivers, powerfully and beautifully.
Full Review | Original Score: 5/5
December 19, 2014
By focusing on the power of cannily staged collective action to turn the tide of public opinion, Selma achieves a contemporary relevance that few historical dramas can ...
December 17, 2014
DuVernay has done a great service with Selma. Not only has she made one of the most powerful films of the year, she's given us a necessary reminder of what King did for this country...and how much is left to be done.
Full Review | Original Score: A
December 15, 2014
DuVernay has made a very good movie.
December 12, 2014
It'd be a good movie any year, but given the events of the last few months, it's now an almost unbearably resonant one.
November 12, 2014
Intelligently written, vividly shot, tightly edited, sharply acted, the film represents a rare example of craftsmanship working to produce a deeply moving piece of history.
November 12, 2014
Ava DuVernay's politically astute, psychologically acute MLK bio-pic makes the Civil Rights movement seem like only yesterday.
November 12, 2014
"Selma" is one of the best American films of the year - and indeed perhaps the best - precisely because it does not simply show what Dr. King did for America in his day; it also wonders explicitly what we have left undone for America in ours.
Full Review | Original Score: 5/5