and David Oyelowo face came on the screen sucking me into the movie “Selma.” After much debate with myself over the last few days, I finally mustered the will to get out of my house this morning and go see the movie. ‘Selma’ is a movie that I had anticipated for while. there was no way I was going to miss it because of the big media push that the cast had been making from magazine covers to talk-show. Plus, as an African living who is Boston who is just really starting to gain consciousness of what it means to be Black in America, I felt I had to go watch this. Of course, the danger in watching a movie like ‘Selma’, when you are uneducated about the Civil Rights Movement like I am, is that there is that line between the dramatization of real events and the reality of the events that gets all muddled up in the name of making great movie. It is a good thing I have been following the media push enough to know that the speeches in the movie are not real because the Dr. King’s estate chose not let the movie makers use them.
Even with all of this caveats, watching ‘Selma’ was an evocative experience. It made me realize that there is much progress that has been made in racial relations in America. I think especially in this age of systemic injustices that are represented by Ferguson and the many other instances, it is easy to let anger cloud the fact that much progress has been made. The flip side of this is that it made me realize how much more still needs to be done in terms of equality and justice for all. ‘Selma’ is a heavy movie. It is the kind of movie that is designed cause introspection. It is designed to inspire if you choose to be inspired. It is designed to educate.
Beyond the loftier goals of the movies, the acting of the ‘Selma’ cast was superb. To be honest, I really wanted to go to the bathroom 20 minutes into the movie but I was so spellbound that I did not do so until the movie ended. There is something about the elocution of David Oyelowo channeling Martin Luther King that is amazing to watch. The cadence is laced with dignity and often times the heaviness of despair. I found that the most powerful moment where not the ones where his voice was booming but the quiet whispers of a personal conversation with another. There is a point where Mr. Oyelowo’s character talks to an ADA about his personal security. His eyes and his soft speech said so much more than could ever be said in the words. I think that is what I loved most about this movie in terms of entertainment. The full-bodied portrayal of these strong personalities. The dignity that Carmen Ejogo carried into her portrayal of Coretta Scott King was amazing. I wanted to see so much more of her during and after the movie. I really loved seeing a cast that featured some of the biggest black actors in America. Plus, there are so many new faces in there that I hope this movie is a vehicle for them to get into other movies and bring some diversity to the screen.
this is the other thing struck also watching ‘Selma’, how did the spouses and the families cope with their love ones away fighting for justice across the world.Watching Carmen Ejogo made me realize that a Coretta Scott King movie would be amazing. Beyond the spouses, I wanted to know more about the big players in the Dr. King’s group. I was a bit lost when I read a review of ‘Selma’ in the past and the critic mentioned that the movie just points out so many other great stories of the Civil Rights Era that have yet to be told. Now I understand and I am of the same opinion that there is so much that still needs to be told. ‘Selma’ was just a chapter in a long storybook that is the Civil Rights Era.
Of course I have been obsessively listening to John Legend and Common’s song for the movie, Glory.