Words cannot begin to describe the atrocities perpetrated upon peaceful demonstrators during the Selma marches and I’m not even going to try. Suffice to say I felt the same watching Selma as I did while watching 12 Years A Slave; sickened by the brutality man can commit upon his fellow-man, but certain that I must continue to watch.
There are moments during Selma when turning away or shutting your eyes would be the easier option. But to turn away would certainly do a disservice to all those that sacrificed so much in the name of freedom. My personal circumstances are such that I simply have no understanding of the struggles that are endured when fighting for the rights which all men and women should be afforded. Selma plays a small part in furthering our understanding of such matters. The medium of filmmaking is a wonderful gift; enabling people, helping them to try to understand where we, custodians of our society, have come from and the sacrifices made to get where we are today.
I find it hard to comprehend why David Oyelowo was not nominated for an Oscar for his portrayal of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. While there is clearly stiff opposition for the coveted honour, Mr. Oyelowo provides us with a stellar performance; the scenes in which he delivers some of Dr. King’s iconic speeches in particular are scintillating. And Mr. Oyelowo is ably supported by an equally stellar cast. Tom Wilkinson as President Lydon B. Johnson, Tim Roth as Gov. George Wallace and the always wonderful Giovanni Ribisi as L.B.J.’s adviser Lee White head the list with a couple of great cameos from Martin Sheen and Cuba Gooding Jr.
But it’s those actors whom we recognise but rarely remember their names that should also receive acknowledgement. It is the people who supported Dr. King during Selma and in turn the actors playing them (and thus supporting David Oyelowo) that stand side-by-side with the big Hollywood names. Tessa Thompson, Omar J. Dorsey, Colman Domingo, André Holland, Corey Reynolds and Lorraine Toussaint were all fantastic. As too were Wendell Pierce, Oprah Winfrey, Common, Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Stephen James and Carmen Ejogo as Dr. King’s long-suffering but always supportive wife Coretta. Aya DuVernay has assembled a wonderful cast and directed a very good film. Whether it is the intimate moments between Dr. King and his family or the explosive, hatred-driven encounters between Selma’s white community and the demonstrators, Ms. DuVernay handles all with aplomb. Selma is a great piece of filmmaking and if you, dear reader, get the opportunity to see it, I urge you to do so.
Thank you for reading 🙂