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The Great Debaters
9 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

[b]*** This comment may contain spoilers ***[/b]

I saw this at the WGA Theatre and Robert Eisele, a white man, Polish-German, if I remember right was in the house. Being a white American myself, I very drawn to race conscious stories, though I strongly believe the only race is the human race.

Eisele the screenwriter has teamed up with Oprah Winfrey, producer, and Denzel Washington, star-director, and the result is one of the best inspirational movies I've seen. I was impressed with Director Denzel before when I saw "Antoine Fisher." Very thought provoking that was and this one has multiple characters to root for.

In 1935, Jim Crow was still in effect and blacks were clearly living as second class citizens. Based on historical characters and events, a debate team from the South went on to become the undefeated champs for the next ten years.

Washington plays the college professor who coached and even wrote for the team but also was an agitator who used blacks and poor whites to join an union. Forest Whitaker plays a genius level minister who must cow down to whites to protect his family. It's fun to see the two Academy Award winners on the same screen.

While everybody is good in this period piece, special mention must go to Denzel Whitaker, the one who has visual daydreams for the female but it's unrequited but still able to raise above that to win the debate at the end. Even more important, he's the one who failed the first time which makes the final victory so sweet.

As the debate team is traveling, they narrowly escape whites when they witness a burning lynching from their car. Very believable done.

I highly recommend this movie and hope it has great succes