MLK 'Expertly' Captured in Timely Selma

David Oyelowo 'mesmerizing' as he portrays King's private side
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 9, 2015 11:20 AM CST

If critics are to be believed, Selma might be the best movie you see this season. The historical drama following Martin Luther King Jr. as he fights for racial equality in Selma, Alabama, circa 1965 has an impressive 99% rating from critics on Rotten Tomatoes. Here's what they're saying:

  • Selma "deserves major attention this awards season," particularly due to David Oyelowo's masterful depiction of King as "a man of flesh, blood, and foibles," Peter Howell writes at the Toronto Star. "We see history as it unfolds, not as it has been encased in amber, in a movie that needs to be seen in these anxious days of renewed racial and cultural unrest."
  • Kenneth Turan at the Los Angeles Times calls Selma "a necessary film, even an essential one." Ava DuVernay directs the picture "with passion and conviction" and Oyelowo is "mesmerizing" as he "expertly" captures King's body language and cadences. "The heart of Selma is the three separate 50-mile marches," Turan writes, but the film is "inconsistent and not always as strong as its strongest moments."

  • "Even when it shows King as a scapegoat, adulterer, and martyr, Selma presents him with care that would have made its subject proud," writes Colin Covert at the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Oyelowo is "both completely believable and someone we've never encountered before." There are a few missteps, but the film is "a work of art ... brilliantly acted, beautifully shot, emotionally touching."
  • Moira Macdonald agrees Oyelowo "captures King's musical cadence, his quiet magnetism." But more than that, "History becomes breathtaking drama in Selma; there's an urgent realism in the storytelling, as if we're seeing this just in time," she writes at the Seattle Times. Plus, "it stays with you long after the theater lights have been raised."
(More movie review stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.