Go and see Selma, out this Friday!
It’s already been in theatres in the US since last Christmas, and it’s been all over the news for a variety of reasons (good and bad) for weeks now. But this Friday, February 6th, Selma finally gets its nationwide UK release.
For anyone who has been living a under a rock and is somehow out of the loop, Selma is a film based on the 1965 Selma to Montgomery voting rights marches led by James Bevel, Hosea Williams, Martin Lyther King, Jr. and John Lewis. Britain’s own David Oyelowo stars as Martin Luther King Jr., and Oprah Winfrey is one of the producers of the film, which recently picked up a nod for Best Picture at the Oscars and currently holds a 99% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Chances are however you didn’t need to read all that as despite only just coming out, Selma, has been a hot topic in the news of late.
With such rave reviews (and subject matter typically favourable in those circles), many were shocked, and some offended, at Selma’s lack of awards recognition. The Oscars snub got the most attention (despite the Best Picture nom) but pretty much all the major awards largely ignored Selma- BAFTAs, Golden Globes and all the Guild awards. Many saw this as a sign of the prejudice that remains in Hollywood and the lack of diversity of the voting body.
Another point of contention with Selma was its historical accuracy. Some have accused the film with misrepresenting the role of President Lyndon Johnson, saying he was not the antagonistic figure the film depicts and was much more supporting of the Selma marches and the civil rights movement in general. Director Ava DuVernay disputed that her film isn’t overly negative in its presentation of the 37th President of the United States, but yet the debate raged on.
The reason I bring all this up is that now that all the hullaballoo and outrage has somewhat passed by- make sure you see the movie. At this point some may feel the film has been discussed ad nauseum and had its moment in the zeitgeist has passed (UK distributer Pathe may have been smarter to release the film a few weeks earlier), but let that feeling of ‘old news’ keep you away from your multiplexes or arthouses.
Forget about pedantic debates on arbitrary minor details in representation. Forget about who got what meaningless accolade. Just watch a telling of an extremely important time in history, and enjoy it for what it is. Selma has not been a major box office success in the US, and would really benefit from a strong UK showing. If you want more ‘black’ films you Selma is film you have to support!
And if that’s not enough to persuade you, consider seeing Selma all your homework done for this year’s black history month.
Selma releases in theatres nationwide, Friday 6th February