Christina Gardner, The Black Bear – “Selma,” which debuted in theaters nationwide on Jan. 9, was a cinematic masterpiece for a variety of reasons. While staying true to historical facts, it uses artistic license to create a very moving piece of entertainment.
Contrary to several moviegoers’ beliefs prior to seeing the film, it is not about Martin Luther King. Though his presence is integral to the movie as it was to the movement the movie is based upon the movie highlights the events he was apart of rather than King as a person.
The film tells the story of Civil Rights activists in Selma, Alabama and their journey to overturn the corrupt laws in the state that illegally denied African Americans the right to register to vote.
Throughout the movie you see the struggle of the people in the community as well as the tension that their plight caused between Civil Rights activists and the state and federal government.
One of the very first scenes of the movie features Martin Luther King, who is played by David Oyelowo, urging Lyndon B. Johnson, played by Tom Wilkinson, to implement policies that would force southern states to allow their African-American citizens to vote.
Though LBJ and MLK are two of the central figures in the film, several other lesser known men and women whose stories give the film true character.
One of these figures is Annie Lee Cooper, played by Oprah Winfrey, who attempted to register to vote seven times in Alabama and was continuously denied.
One of the things that really stands out about the film is that despite the fact that it is about events that happened over 50 years ago, a number of the scenes are relevant to audiences today.
These topics range from the right to civil disobedience, freedom of speech and police brutality to the involvement of the church in civil rights issues.
One of the songs of the film that is played during the ending credits even alludes to recent events that have happened in Ferguson.
This movie is meant for history fanatics, human rights activists and conscious citizens alike. It is impossible to leave the film without being humble, riled up, full of pride or heart broken. Most people will probably leave the film with a combination of those emotions.
In an interview with National Public Radio, the film’s director Ava DuVernay gives details into the logistics of “Selma” as well as her artistic view as the creator.
“Selma” is showing in Springfield at: