Starring: David Oyelowo, Tom Wilkinson, Carmen Ejogo, Oprah Winfrey, Andre Holland, Common, Cuba Gooding Jr, Stephen James
Director: Ava DuVernay
Running Time: 2 hours 7 minutes
Now Showing at Century Cinemax, Acacia Mall, Kisementi and Cinema Magic Metroplex Mall, Naalya
Selma has been one of the most anticipated movies of 2015. So much that some people are using it to score points –I overheard a guy bragging to his friends that he had already watched it, and that it was about the time Martin Luther King Jr gave his famous I Have A Dream speech… SMH!
I shake my head because this movie, just like the title suggests, is about the events surrounding the Selma to Montgomery marches, which happened after that speech by the way. So pity that guy’s friends. Anyway, the movie highlights what the Black community in the South had to go through to be granted the right to vote. It shows how difficult it was made for those who tried to register to vote to go through. In one scene, an old woman, Annie Lee Cooper (Winfrey) is asked very difficult questions, which she passes till they ask her an impossible one and her registration is rejected.
When King (Oyelowo) points this discrimination out to President Johnson (Wilkinson), the president does not take it seriously. Soon, rights activists are marching, being teargased (this is not a Ugandan thing after all), beaten, arrested, killed, the whole shebang. Soon the president realises these guys are not joking and has to intervene.
The movie has been received with high praise for most people, scoring 99 per cent on Rotten Tomatoes, a film review aggregator site. Of course there have been some naysayers but majority seem to have issue with the fact that four of the main characters, including King and President Johnson are British but these don’t seem to have a leg to stand on since the actors’ nationality had no effect on their acting capability. Also, if you are like Andrew Mwenda and have crammed all King’s speeches, don’t get annoyed when you realise they have been tweaked in the movie. King left the rights to his speech to only two production companies, and they don’t include any of the three that produced Selma. So Duvernay, who not only directed but wrote parts of the screenplay, had to tweak them to avoid copyright issues.
Otherwise, the movie stays true to history but makes it interesting enough for the non-history buffs. It’s also timely since this year will be the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act, which was passed after the marches.