There are certain things you look for in film, all of which differ movie to movie. So when I went into the theater to watch the Martin Luther King Jr. tribute film, I was thinking of it in terms of historical accuracy, actor and actress performance of real people and emotional ride by proxy of drama.
“Selma” was not only one of the most impressive films of the year I would have to place it among my top movies ever watched. Not only does it depict King as the civil rights leader and preacher that he was, it also portrays him as a man. A man who faced great adversity and coped with said adversity in the way that many of us would if faced with the same demons.
He is a human being in this film. He makes mistakes, he fears, he hurts. But most importantly, he overcomes. He is able to, in the King way, overcome all the trepidations and hurdle over every barrier set in front of him in his too-short life.
This film deals with one hurdle in particular: Selma, Alabama. David Oyelowo, who starred as King in the film, not only looked the part, but brought every bit of King’s presence with him onto the screen. In this breakout performance by Oyelowo, you can see the time and effort he put into becoming King. Oyelowo has an star-studded cast along with him for this film, including Oprah Winfrey, Tom Wilkinson, Common and Tim Roth.
While Selma has had several nods from the Academy and other award panels since its debut, I was appalled to see that Oyelowo did not receive an Oscar nomination for best actor in “Selma.” He honestly brought the whole picture to light with his portrayal of King.
Without him, the film could have still been a phenomenal film but his performance was a gem to be placed behind bulletproof glass.
This film is a testament to what filmmaking can do in the effort of telling the truth and really bringing back the most important times of the past. It’s a modern day monoliths in honor of the heroes of old and acts as a teaching tool so as to keep the young starkly aware of what was happening not so long ago.
For as we all know, times have changed, but there is still work to be done.
My advice to anyone who considers himself a part of a more socially conscious America, a student of history, or just someone who wishes to look through a spyglass into the past, please don’t let the opportunity slip from between your fingers. Go to the theater and pay that $10 and watch what is possibly one of the greatest historical drama films to date.
“Selma” is rated PG-13 for disturbing thematic material including violence, a suggestive moment, and brief strong language.