It seems like very few decades in American history were both as equally tragic and triumphant as the 1960’s. So many great leaders emerged to guide us through the troubled times, few stood out more that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Up until now no film has told the story of Dr. King’s life that helped usher in so much change in the civil rights laws of this country. Well that is no longer the case, as the story of the march from Selma to Montgomery Alabama changes all that.
In 1960 America and especially in the south, being a man or woman of color was difficult. Even though they were given the right to vote by the United States Government, the state of Alabama did everything to prevent that from happening.Dr. King (David Oyelowo) asked for help but was refused that help by President Lyndon B. Johnson (Tom Wilkinson) who believed that equal voter’s rights was not as important as other issues of the day. Seeing the opportunity, Dr. King travels to Selma with hopes he can bring the attention of the world, in order to force the President’s decision. Even with so many obstacles in the way, Dr. King organizes a march from Selma to Montgomery, a march that will change the course of history in this country forever.
Once in a while a movie comes along that should be required viewing for most people in this country, “Selma” is one of those movies. With problems that seemed so long ago, it is important to learn about where we came from in order to remember not to make the same mistakes again. With such an astounding life, it would be hard to fit Dr. King’s story into one film, but telling one story from his great life gives this important moment the attention it deserves. Writer Paul Webb and Director Ava DuVernay craft a history lesson, which while not completely accurate historically does show the difficulties that Dr. King faced in achieving his dream. While the film might not follow history correctly by downplaying the roles of others in the passing of the Voter’s Right Act, it doesn’t stop the film from being a work of cinematic art. Even though the story is being questioned for its truths, no one is questioning the performance of David Oyelowo who brings Dr. King back to life with a performance that he seems made to give. Not to be forgotten Wilkinson’s portrayal of President Johnson is just as good, and the scenes that he and Oyelowo share are some of the strongest of the film. “Selma” is an amazing film, that tells the story of some of the hardest times in American history. With great performances from everyone involved, this is one sort of lesson that is historic, but a schooling in creating a perfect work of art.