Selma is not just among the best films of the year but by far the most important film of the year. It documents a significant turning point in race relationship and related legislation in 20th century.
Selma is a powerful dynamite but not for Martin Luther King’s fiery mobilization of disenfranchised African-Americans alone. It also packs many timeless lessons of great variety. At the very onset, it smartly conveys how Non-Violence actually requires deep strength. As our blood boils provoked into jumping out of theater seats to punch a white police officer brutally manhandling a senior female citizen in the racially scarred environment of 60s deep south, MLK reins in his emotions with difficulty, stands erect and firm as the above scene unfolds before his eyes.
There are many segments displaying beautiful art of negotiation and importance of cooperation. The President of the United States and one of the greatest public crusader of the era go at each other with a volley of high intensity parleys backing their point of view while still looking like courteous, respectful statesmen that they were. In the end, they collectively won the biggest victory for Black Suffrage in America.
Every organizer knows that difference of opinion and consequent bickering are the undesired elements of every movement. The film, however, displays that true heroes reconcile. As SNCC members and MLK retinue get acrimonious over differing protest strategies, it is only MLK’s soft manners and sharp observations that save the day.
There is also fine deliberation on why MLK turns around at a crucial juncture in the march. It aptly conveys that for all the conviction and studious planning, every leader must eventually rely on his instincts in destiny defining moments and every follower must embrace that not every action of the leader can be judged by the narrow prism of logic.
Film’s biggest success lies in presenting MLK as an incomplete man of complete conviction, a hero but not a saint. This true representation is genuine justice to this crusader of justice.
Disclaimer: I am not spending enough words on greatness of the film’s story itself. There is plenty of material on the web on that so I am focusing energy on lesser written aspects of the film.