Dr Martin Luther King is granted the Nobel Peace prize for his work in getting racial segregation abolished in the USA. King however does not relent and requests the President of the USA to allow blacks to be able to register and vote in all elections without any restrictions and discriminations. The President puts the issue on the back burner which leads King to start peaceful protests and a historic march from Selma, Alabama in 1965. The tussles between the lawmakers, the enforcers and the protestors form the rest of the story which details the fate of King’s movement.
Running Time:
128 min
Release date:
25 December 2014
Directed by:
Ava DuVernay
Produced by:
Christian Colson
Dede Gardner
Oprah Winfrey
Jeremy Kleiner
Written by:
Paul Webb
David Oyelowo
Tom Wilkinson
Carmen Ejogo
Andre Holland
Tessa Thompson
Music by:
Jason Moran
Shot by:
Bradford Young
Edited by:
Spencer Averick
Distributed by:
Paramount Pictures

What’s Hot

  • David Oyelowo produces a noteworthy performance as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He puts to good use the skills honed from his recent films as supporting actors, to portray the powerful lead character in Selma. The limited emotions of joy or sorrow that he displays, makes for an engrossing watch with all the attention focussed on this central character.
  • Appreciations are in order for the directorAva DuVernay’schoice of this theme that brings us back to one of the most important movements in the history of the USA. The unpleasant truth that the core issue of discrimination is prevalent even now with a recent spurt of incidentswithsimilar ulterior motives makes it all the more relevant!
  • Hard hitting dialogues are undoubtedly expected to be featured in a movie with this kind of a core. The ones in ‘Selma’ written by Paul Webb and Ava herself have a high level of impact, especially the ones between King and the President and the motivational, inciting speeches that the King delivers to instil faith and kindle the spirit of the minority community.
  • Jason Moran, after years of excellence in Theatre and Art, has made the transition to movies by composing for ‘Selma’. Debut or not, his creations for Selma have a deep connect to the sensitive issues portrayed in the film. The scores that fill the eerie blanks on King’s face when he watches his men suffer. The Common and John Legend combination that came together to make the “Glory” song for the movie is another high point that rightly won accolades at the Golden Globes.

What’s Not

  • Tom Wilkinson’s choice and performance as Lyndon B. Johnson, the then US President leaves much to be desired as it lacks the charisma associated with a president. While all other events in the movie are supported by references from Federal records logged, those surrounding the president are not and leave considerable ground for doubt. The portrayal also contradicts the claims of historians who hold Lyndon B. Johnson as one who whole heartedly supported the movement.



Verdict Stamp

More of exceptional resolve, less of violent protests– ‘Selma’ has that perfect balance required to keep the movie interesting for a longer part of its duration, despite some occasional wobbles. A real sense of oppression is allowed to seep in thanks to the precise pace set for the proceedings – One’s got to see it to feel it!