Civil Rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. will finally have a shiny theatrical biopic to call his own come Christmas day with the release of Selma. Written and directed by Ava DuVernay, the flick chronicles the events that led to the March on Selma, Alabama for voting rights in the spring of 1965. British actor David Oyelowo will portray King and Carmen Ejogo stars alongside him as Coretta Scott King.
A biopic comprehensive in its history and visceral in impact, Selma is absolutely sure to make waves when it finally hits theaters on Christmas Day, and here are five reasons why:
1: Ava DuVernay is finally getting her due
DuVernay is a writer/director who’s been in the scene for a while making documentaries and narrative features, but Selma is her big break in the public eye. She also achieved the milestone of wing the first African-American female director to be nominated for a Golden Globe, so her star is sure to rise. Get in on that ground floor!
2: It boasts a stellar cast
King may be the focus of Selma, but he’s not the only figure portrayed here. The cast features other figures like Southern Christian Leadership Conference leader James Bevel, played by Common (pictured above, right), Diane Nash from the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, portrayed by Tessa Thompson (pictured above, left), Annie Lee Cooper, played by Oprah Winfrey, and Coretta Scott herself, portrayed by Carmen Ejogo. This star-studded and talented bunch go a long way toward making Selma compelling watching.
3: An authentic, non-patronizing view of Civil Rights-era America
There are very few films that depict the Civil Rights movement at all, let alone in a reverent and non-patronizing way, but Selma manages the feat of bringing the viscera of the movements, marches, and negotiations to powerful life. And speaking of visceral protests…
4: Parallels to Michael Brown/Eric Garner protests
Between sit-ins and protests on the streets, direct parallels between events like die-ins and the Millions March that happened in NYC this past weekend over the refusal to indict the police officers who murdered Michael Brown and Eric Garner can easily be drawn.
5: It’s one of the best films of the year
Gorgeously shot and reverently told, Selma goes above and beyond as a comprehensive recounting of the events that led to gaining voting rights in America and a supremely entertaining story in it’s own right.
Dylan “CineMasai” Green is a movie geek, hip-hop aficionado, and pita chip enthusiast. Find him on Twitter.
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