Out of all the Oscar probables so far this year, there have been very few that I have thoroughly enjoyed. The Theory of Everything was very underwhelming in my opinion, Big Eyes was good but tapered out towards the third act, only Birdman has actually “wowed” me. Admittedly, I still have more to see, but I haven’t been that impressed with anything but Birdman. Until now.
In 1965, Martin Luther King Jr. headed down to Selma, Alabama in order to help peacefully protest the lack of equal voting rights and inequality as a whole. He faces adversity from the Alabama governor and President Lyndon Johnson for a number of reasons, but King perseveres using his non-violent methods.
Dr. King was one of the most profound, strongest, and purest out of all the revolutionaries. Therefore, if anyone is deserving of a near perfect movie, it is the good Doctor. And that is exactly what he gets. Selma is a powerful period piece that is still incredibly appropriate considering the current social climate surrounding today’s society. It infallibly demonstrates the ideals Dr. King strove to achieve and the noble methods that he took untoward achieving them.
The screenplay is uplifting and strong. The racial tension is brutal, but honest without being cartoony and shows us exactly why Martin had to do what he did. It causes us to not wish harm on those who act against the Civil Rights movement, but see them brought over to the right side. It may show us the darkness, and the darkness that continues, but it gives us the glimmer of hope that Dr. King would have wanted us to have. Even when the movie seems to take a left turn, it doesn’t leave us hanging and wondering why.
The main magnitude of this film is the brilliantly strong performance of David Oyelowo. He effectively captures the essence of Martin Luther King in ways that no one has before. He shows no signs of aggression, just persuasion. He’s incredibly passionate and fully immersed into this role. Oyelowo has done masterfully, and this will not go unnoticed. If the Oscar doesn’t go to Michael Keaton, it will go to David Oyelowo and I have no problem with that.
Selma is one of the first Oscar contenders this year that has truly earned its acclaim. It could not have come out at a better time, and deserves all the attention it gets. I expect this to do very well this awards season.