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Selma movie

Popcorn Rating

Movie Info


PG-13 for disturbing thematic material including violence, a suggestive moment, and brief strong language


Drama, Biography


January 9, 2015


David Oyelowo, Carmen Ejogo, Wendell Pierce, Lorraine Toussaint, Tom Wilkinson, Giovanni Ribisi, Oprah Winfrey, Common, Tim Roth, Cuba Gooding Jr., Tessa Thompson, Martin Sheen, Keith Stanfield, Dylan Baker


Ava DuVernay


Paramount Pictures

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Review: Selma

By Hannah Goodwyn
Senior Producer - In this day and age when human rights are violated, when the freedom of speech is met with an assassin's gun, Selma inspires hope in the face of stark, unrighteous opposition.

Director Ava DuVernay honors Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s legacy by giving audiences a sobering look at our nation's past. This buzzworthy film, starring Golden Globe nominated actor David Oyelowo, not only focuses on what King and his compatriots accomplished through their non-violent protests in 1960s Alabama, but also the personal struggles this Southern Baptist minister and family man faced behind the scenes.


Gaining recognition for his contributions to the American Civil Rights movement, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (Oyelowo) has the ear of President Lyndon B. Johnson (Tom Wilkinson). Strides are being made toward equality in the South, but it's far from completion. To protest for equal voting rights, Dr. King and his brothers and sisters in the cause decide to make Selma, Alabama, their campaign starting point. It's there that King challenges the systematic oppression levied by some of the prejudiced, and often violent, locals and state officials. They will march for their rights from Selma to Montgomery, no matter what or who may stand in their way.


Nominated for four Golden Globe Awards (including Best Motion Picture—Drama), Selma is likely to garner high profile Oscar nominations this year. Chief among its triumphs is the outstanding Oyelowo, a British actor who's taken the large task of portraying this American hero in glorious stride. From the acting, to the directing, to its incredible cinematography, Selma is an achievement in cinema.

With Selma's emphasis on King's work during the 1965 campaign to secure the lawful voting rights of disregarded blacks facing Billy clubs and tear gas, audiences are given a broader picture of the time and trials befalling people of color in the South. We see a people humbled, yet stand strong in the face of subjugation.

King's Christian faith plays a significant role in the film, as it did in the minister's life. It also zeroes in on the personal side of Dr. King. Scenes in Selma point to his own troubles, reminding audiences that this hero was also a mere man. Seeing this side of King is all the more compelling for it prompts us to evaluate the greatness within us all—should we follow God's leading in a righteous cause.

Rated PG-13 for disturbing thematic material including violence, a suggestive moment, and brief strong language, Selma is not appropriate for young audiences. Parents should weigh its strong content, but do so carefully as this is a part of our history that should be relived by older generations and exposed to younger ones.


Selma is one of the best films of this awards year. Will it grab the Golden Globe for Best Dramatic Picture? That remains to be seen. What we can know is that DuVernay, her cast and crew deserve applause for their contribution to this historic picture.

Note: If the gasps heard from the audience at the screening I attended are any indication of our society's lack of knowledge of the events in Selma, then we are in danger of forgetting part of our country's painful past. May we move forward in reconciliation and healing, but never forget the cost of freedom for all.

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Hannah GoodwynHannah Goodwyn serves as the Entertainment producer for For more articles and information, visit Hannah's bio page.

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