The Great Debaters......"Debate is blood sport. It's combat. But your weapons are words."
Biographies are meant for people to know what happened, how it happened and most importantly, to inspire. The movie truly inspires a lot. The battle of words shown is so intense that at the end of almost each debate, involuntarily, my hands came together to applaud.
This movie is a drama based on the true story of Melvin B. Tolson (Denzel Washington), a professor at Wiley College Texas. In 1935, he inspired students to form the school's first debate team, which went on to challenge Harvard in the national championship.
When the cast has names like Denzel Washington and Forest Whitaker, its hard to think that the content will not be good. Also Denzel Washington is the director and he does a real good job. The characters in this movie are simply the students (Debate team) and the mentors (Washington and Whitaker). What works fine throughout is the bonding of the two sides, the situations in which wrong decisions are made, in which the integrity of the confronting person is put to test, even the master(Tolson) is put through situations of doubt where he responds "My politics are my business and it won't endanger the team". He's labeled a communist, an extremist and what not, but, at the end it was because of him, his belief in truth, in his team that lead to the level of success which according to most of them at that time was unattainable.
Something special in my point of view was the proper and correct mention of Gandhiji and his civil disobedience in the last debate which highlighted many valid points.
In a Nutshell:
a) Highlights: The detailing of the mid 1930's that is the job of art direction is good, the acting is lively and commendable, the ensemble is also fine and of course the direction is good.
b)USP: The battle of words.
TRIVIA: Washington's second movie as a director.
Great Lines: i)Defeat makes a person stronger.
ii)Opponent doesn't exist because he is a mere dissenting voice to the truth I speak.
My rating 85%