‘Enough is enough’
We all know the story of Martin Luther King Jr. We learned in high school he was a civil rights activist who believed in nonviolent fighting. He gave many famous speeches and was assassinated in 1968. We have heard the history of King.
So one might think the movie “Selma” might be a boring movie about a man we already know and a story we’ve seen played out a million times. But what “Selma” does is show you the inside angle of what was really going on in the time of King.
The movie opens with a black screen and only a single voice saying, “This isn’t right.” The voice comes from David Oyelowo, who plays King, talking about the
ascot he is wearing. As the movie progresses, we watch the struggles King encounters leading up to the march from Selma, Alabama, to Montgomery, Alabama. Leading up to the march, we see the hardships and restrictions King has to deal with in preparation. King is seen multiple times talking to President Lyndon Johnson, played by Tom Wilkinson. Johnson is refusing to sign and pass a law making it illegal to discriminate at the voting booth. By this time the Civil Rights Act, which made segregation illegal, has already been passed. Johnson now wants to move on to the Poverty War, but King is pleading with the President to focus on the voting first.
The way King plans to convince Johnson that this issue needs to be dealt with is by stuffing it in his face. He plans to use the media to attract the American citizen’s attention to the issue at hand. King organizes a march from Selma, Alabama, to Montgomery, Alabama, to expose the struggle.
We also experience the battle King has with his wife, played by Carmen Ejogo, and his kids. I wasn’t aware of the strain King’s work put on his family life, but it’s laid out there for you to see that King was fighting more than one battle during this time.
There were also numerous scuffles with other activists. The movie is full of arguments and hard decisions that had to be made.
The movie is full of emotion, which I expected going in, but I didn’t expect it so blindly. It hits you when you least expect it.
The way I know this was a touching, real, good movie was by the reaction of the other people in the movie theater. When the previews started, you could hear a few whispers here and there throughout the movie theater. The occasionally glimpse of a cell phone screen hit your face. And the chewing of popcorn made me jealous I just spent $10 on a movie ticket and couldn’t afford the treat as a poor college student. But once the movie began, the theater was dead silent. I’m pretty sure nobody moved throughout the entire movie because I didn’t hear a single squeak from the theater chairs, no side comment whispering, and no more chewing of popcorn. I have never sat through a movie in the theaters that was as quiet as this movie was. I found that incredible and it made me realize I wasn’t the only one in the theater absorbed into the movie.
I also looked around the theater to see everyone else’s reactions a couple times throughout the movie. I was shocked to see that the older couple, probably in their 60s, who sat in front of me, and a young couple in their late 20s sitting to my right had the same reaction. This movie hit the same feelings in the 60-year-olds as in the 20-year-olds. At a couple points in the movie I noticed all four of the people sitting around me literally on the edge of their seats. (I was actually worried the 20-year-old lady was going to fall out of her seat at one point.)
This movie was tough and I’m not lying when I say it was difficult to watch. I was very thankful for the few comedic comments thrown in to break up the tension. This movie was worth the four hour drive (round trip) and the $10 ticket, even if that meant no popcorn to go along with it.