Sunday, January 18, 2015
Andrew's Cinematic Adventures: Selma Movie Review
To start off this review, I should express how much I love a good biopic. One of my favorite movies of all-time (Lincoln) is an incredible biopic about Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln is one of those historical figures that's so beloved and mythical that it seems almost idiotic to try to find an actor that can portray such a larger-than-life character. Daniel Day-Lewis somehow figured it out. He was able to accomplish something few actors are able to do...make viewers forget they are watching a movie and actually believe the character they see is the real thing. Day-Lewis was so powerful in his portrayal of Lincoln that there were times it was hard to believe I wasn't actually watching Honest Abe himself, alive and well.
The most recent biopic I watched was Selma, a movie about the issues surrounding Selma, Alabama and the legendary Martin Luther King, Jr. Much like the movie Lincoln, Selma was able to achieve the same effect while attempting to portray such a complex character as Luther himself. David Oyelowo deserves nothing less than an Oscar for Best Actor for his amazing portrayal of Dr. King. He became the man, which is not an easy task to accomplish with someone as universally beloved as Martin Luther King, Jr. I truly felt like I was watching real footage of Dr. King during the uneasy days surrounding the events of Selma, Alabama. I don't even remeber where else I've seen Oyelowo, but I will definitely remember him after this incredible performance. Oh wait, I remember! He was the douchey boss in Rise of the Planet of the Apes. This guy:
Let's just hope he gets more chances to show his considerable talents after Selma. One of the things I was impressed with most while watching Selma. was that it didn't shy away from the fact that King was a complex man. It's been documented that King was a bit (that's putting it generously) unfaithful to his wife and not necessarily the greatest family man. The movie addresses this and shows that, yes, King was an amazing civil rights leader but he did still have shortcomings. That's always been a pet peeve of mine. Many times, historical figures achieve that level of sainthood or whatever where they become completely godlike and appear to have no discernible flaws or weaknesses. Selma did not shy away from painting the picture of King being a lot more complicated than most would like to admit.
The movie was a great period piece that taught me a lot about King as a man and about the events that happened in Selma, Alabama. Just like 12 Years a Slave and The Help, it made me cringe for the majority of the movie. Could white people in the South really have been that over-the-top terrible to African Americans? Ugh....it's shameful. Selma didn't hide away from the ugly truth and told exactly what happened while King was attempting to do away with the unfair voting restrictions that littered the South during that time.
Overall, the movie was entertaining. It's a movie I would definitely consider adding to my collection and Oyelowo delivers an Oscar-worthy performance as the flawed Dr. King. It's not the most incredible movie I've ever seen, but I enjoyed it merely for the fact that David Oyelowo took a very difficult role and completely owned it. Go see it, you won't be disappointed.