Movie Review: Selma


Cary, NC — Selma tells the true story of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s historical efforts to secure equal voting rights via his peaceful protests and a march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama. The film features outstanding performances from all involved while also giving an honest depiction of one of the most influential figures of the twentieth century.

David Oyelowo as Dr. King

David Oyelowo plays Dr. King. I realize the name doesn’t sound familiar, but the actor has been popping up quite a bit over the last few years in films like Interstellar, Jack Reacher, The Butler and Rise of the Planet of the Apes. You’ll likely recognize him but, after watching Selma, I guarantee you’ll remember his name.

Oyelowo brings great humanity and depth to an otherwise legendary figure while reminding us of the toll his leadership had taken on him and his family. Oyelowo absolutely nails Dr. King’s numerous speeches throughout the film, but it’s the quieter moments with his friends and his wife where he really shines.

It’s easily one of the best performances of the year and is sure to be recognized quite a bit over the coming weeks.

Superb Acting Across the Board

Supporting Oyelowo is a “who’s who?” of character actors like Tom Wilkinson (The Grand Budapest Hotel, Michael Clayton) as President Lyndon Johnson, Tim Roth (Resevoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction) as Senator George Wallace, and even Oprah Winfrey in a very minor role as a woman fighting for her right to vote.

Just about everyone gets a moment to shine, no matter how small, offering great moments of insight to this particular moment in history.

The Story

Even with a star-making performance from Oyelowo, it’s important to note that Selma isn’t a traditional biopic of Dr. King. Instead, director Ava DuVernay and writer Paul Webb focus on this moment in time as a whole with a strong focus on Dr. King.

This allows the film to not only depict King’s efforts but also the efforts of those around him. After all, King didn’t work alone. Surrounded by numerous smart and driven supporters, and gaining more wherever he went, Dr. King and Selma show just how strong people can be when they come together and fight for something that’s right.

Selma: Must-See Movie of the Moment

Selma is poised for awards recognition, particularly of the Oscar variety, and it’s hard not to see why. It features a stunning lead performance and a bevy of great supporting turns. Director DuVernay doesn’t shy away from showing us the worst of what happened in Selma in 1965, but she also never forgets all the good that happened either.

Selma is a rewarding experience, timely as ever, and should absolutely be seen in theaters as soon as possible.


Jordan Hunt covers movies for CaryCitizen. Photo from Facebook. Read more Movie Reviews.

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1 reply
  1. Hal Goodtree
    Hal Goodtree says:

    Critics have faulted DuVernay for unfairly painting LBJ as weak on civil rights. What did you think, Jordan?

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