Movie Review: Selma stands out

Cast: David Oyelowo, Carmen Ejogo and Tim Roth

Directed by: Ava DuVernay

Vuvuzela rating: 8/10

Ava DuVernay’s film, Selma is heart-wrenching. The tears will flow and hope will reign. So get the tissues ready.

The Academy Award-winning movie is based on a chapter of the life of American civil rights leader Martin Luther King and struggle for universal suffrage in the United States. It is based on the voting rights movement of a town called Selma and its contribution to the attainment of the vote for African Americans in 1965.


The film opens with a scene of the violent deaths of four small children who are killed in a church bombing in Birmingham, a scene which stuns the viewer into the reality of how violent and destructive racial segregation was in the American South.

The film is real and goes beyond a screen adaptation of historical events. The director and producers are able to reflect the struggle to end segregation in the most brutal and honest way.

The director and producers are able to reflect the struggle to end segregation in the most brutal and honest way.

David Oyelowo portrays King at his best and his worst. Oyelowo is able to show King’s brave and fearless side when he addresses crowds and during periods of the film when protestors are attacked. But at the same time Oyelowo effortlessly channels the softer, more loving side of the American icon, away from the spotlight with fellow activists and his wife.

Tim Roth plays the villain Governor George Wallace perfectly. Wallace was an insensitive and cruel man who made it his mission to stop the march from Selma to Montgomery using brute force, manipulation and threats.

The cast was not allowed to use any of King’s original speeches due to copyright protection, but the writers were still able to re-design  his iconic lines and Oyelowo was able to deliver these speeches powerfully. The power of words is what gave African-Americans a sense of hope for equality and this portrayal does the same for viewers.

It is a film not to be missed even though it was snubbed a number of times by the Academy Awards (Oscars). It is a film that deserved more recognition for its acting talents, portrayal and direction. The musical score, and its contributors including John Legend, should not have been the only thing recognised at this year’s Oscars.

Selma is a film which leaves an everlasting impression on all who see it.