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Selma (2015) bad movie
USA/UK, 128 min, Rated PG (ON) G (QC)
Reviewed 01/15, © Stephen Bourne, moviequips.ca
www.ofrb.gov.on.ca | www.rcq.gouv.qc.ca

Ava DuVernay - Director
Paul Webb - Screenplay
Bradford Young - Cinematography


"SELMA is the story of a movement. The film chronicles the tumultuous three-month period in 1965, when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. led a dangerous campaign to secure equal voting rights in the face of violent opposition. The epic march from Selma to Montgomery culminated in President Johnson signing the Voting Rights Act of 1965, one of the most significant victories for the civil rights movement." - selmamovie.com


UK-born long-time screen talent David Oyelowo delivers an outstanding performance as famed American Civil Rights leader and Nobel Laureate pastor, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., in this otherwise strangely cobbled historical drama from director Ava DuVernay. In it, Dr. King, Jr. arrives in the small town of Selma in then-violently racist Alabama to organize and lead fellow activists on a march in the Spring of 1965, to conspicuously protest the systematic undermining of black voter rights in the Southern United States. All the while, he struggles under relentless private and public scrutiny to remain focused as a lightning rod for peaceful and progressive national change against racial inequality in that country.

2015 marks the 50th anniversary of the American Civil Rights Movement's landmark march in Alabama re-enacted in this film, and the 54-mile stretch of highway protesters faced jeers, arrests, beatings or worse to eventually walk has been officially memorialized since 1996 as the Selma To Montgomery Voting Rights Trail. Far more notable is that 95 years after the Fifteenth Amendment to the US Constitution galvanized voting rights for all Americans regardless of skin colour, the common exclusion of black voters by officials in pro-segregation states such as Alabama still existed in the 1960s. That's why the civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery happened, as well as why it took three attempts to achieve while the White House and the world watched.

Oyelowo exceptionally owns his portrayal of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. here, wonderfully balancing this famous man's public strengths as an unyielding soldier of justice with his private frailties as a self-questioning servant of God. Hopefully Oyelowo's master class efforts inspire a long-overdue full-length biopic of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s life and times. It's also hugely admirable this movie exists as a reminder of the Civil Rights Movement's potent victories a lifetime ago during this age of continued racial tension in America now. Unfortunately, that's pretty much where the praise for this movie ends.

For the greatness of this protest, Selma isn't a particularly great film. Apart from its over-all small screen feel, it has an annoying tendency to present obvious major civil rights figures as barely acknowledged, watered down supporting characters. For instance, local activist John Lewis (played by Canadian rising star Stephan James) was a Freedom Rider brutalized in Montgomery who then volunteered to lobby for black voters in Selma before the 1965 march, yet Lewis' potentially captivating personal stake and story arc leading to his later march to Montgomery are curiously marginalized when Dr. King, Jr. parachutes into the fray with the media and FBI wire taps in tow. The need for Lewis' story to be at the core of Selma screams throughout this screening, frankly.

However, the overwhelming flaw with Selma is that screenwriter Paul Webb's script can't seem to decide if this movie is a day-in-the-life After School Special about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. during his one of many anti-discrimination crusades, or if it's meant to be a timely commemoration of this ethically crucial turning point in 20th century American history. The movie tries to be both of the above, seemingly filtered by artistic license and dismissive choices, ultimately diminishing the protests as somewhat stylized backdrops populated by stock victims for Oyelowo's compelling performance to shine in front of. Why? There's no indication here that Selma was more significant to Dr. King, Jr.'s legacy than any other fight. The Selma To Montgomery March had many heroes justly unified against terrifying odds. It's a shame Selma the movie fails to relate that properly.

I had high hopes this movie would live up to the ambitious historical significance of the Selma To Montgomery March. And, while it's encouraging to see another serious chapter from America's black perspective reach rare wide distribution on the big screen, Selma is strangely concocted and disappointingly mediocre over-all. Wait a couple of minutes to check out David Oyelowo's stellar performance on video-on-demand, but expect to find this civil rights victory's more complete and lasting voices at the library. Reviewed 01/15, © Stephen Bourne, moviequips.ca.

Selma is rated PG by the Ontario Film Review Board, citing use of expletives, limited use of slurs, crude content, scenes that may cause a child brief anxiety, or fear, tobacco use and restrained portrayals of non-graphic violence, and is rated G by la Régie du Cinéma in Québec.

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showtimes: http://www.google.ca/movies?near=kanata-ottawa&hl=en&view=map&date=0


Website: http://www.selmamovie.com/
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kPgs2zshD9Y
IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1020072/
Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Selma_film
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SelmaMovie
Plus: http://dreammarcheson.com/

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