Some movies, you just know you’re going to love.
Take “Selma.” You have a biopic about one of the greatest speakers and writers of all time in Martin Luther King, Jr. (and I’m a writer). You set the movie right in the middle of the Civil Rights Movement (and the 1960s is by far my favorite part of American history). You get universal acclaim from all the top critics, a whiff of controversy about one of the most underrated and fascinating Presidents ever (LBJ), and yeah, let’s just say it was highly, highly likely that I was going to like this flick.
And when I finally saw it Monday (yes, on MLK Day, just worked out that way since my wife was off from work and could watch our little munchkin), I was as moved, and touched by the movie, as I’d hoped.
This thing ought to be shown in schools, and be fairly required viewing for anyone studying the 1960s, for many reasons.
For one, it very much demythologizes King; instead of the “Godded-up” version we get taught and have heard forever, here is a King who clearly cheats on his wife, isn’t always sure of himself, and worries constantly about whether the move he’s about to make is the right one. David Oyewelo is fantastic as King, and it’s pathetic that he didn’t get an Oscar nomination.
Another reason “Selma” shines is how well it portrays the climactic events at the Edmund Pettis Bridge, when King and Selma residents clash with police while trying to march for voting rights. The direction and cinematography are beautiful, and very different from most “protest battle” scenes you’ve seen in films. (Again, the Academy’s snub of Ava DuVurnay is just ridiculous).
The script is terrific, the supporting actors are superb (Carmen Ejogo’s Coretta Scott King and the young John Lewis, played by Stephan James) and the movie moves through the events of 1965 very smoothly.
Now, the LBJ controversy… there has been much hue and cry over how the movie presents Lyndon Johnson, with lots of old liberal friends and admirers of Johnson saying it unfairly shows him as an obstacle to King, rather than a partner.
I have to say having now seen the movie that LBJ really doesn’t come off that bad. Sure the movie distorts history a little, but it’s a movie, not a documentary. And LBJ does get a wonderful scene with Alabama Governor George Wallace near the end that makes him look good.
In short, see “Selma.” It’s a superb film that will make you see Martin Luther King a little differently, a little more human. A really great movie. (For more on “Selma,” here’s a really great column by Charlie Pierce.)
**Next up on Good News Friday, this woman totally deserves Mom of the Year right now, and it’s only January.
Alice Finch, a Seattle mother of two, spend a year of her life making an exact replica of Harry Potter’s Hogwarts Castle, strictly out of LEGO pieces.
Forty-freaking-thousand LEGO pieces, to be exact.
The photo above is from her Flickr page; check out more of them here.
I SO want to fly to Seattle to play with that thing right now.
**And finally, this made me laugh and smile. Jessie Gallan of Scotland is a 109-year-old woman, which means she was born before the Titanic sank, among other things.
She recently told UK’s Daily Mail newspaper that the “secret to a long life has been staying away from men. They’re just more trouble than they’re worth.”
Hey, seems to have worked for her. Glad most women disagree with her…