Selma is a place, not a woman. There is a bridge in that town, made famous by the people who walked it one day so long ago. It was a time in history that I was not taught much about in school. It seems strange that something so defining in our culture would be glazed over, but shame can make cowards of any of us. Shame should follow any acts that make us bullies over any other breathing souls. That guilt is the first step in repentance.This film is as much about guilt as it is about glory. Martin Luther King Jr, portrayed so beautifully by David Oyelowo, is a heart-heavy reverend burdened by the distant dream of true freedom. Even after laws are passed, people’s hearts must turn in order for the world to see change. This takes even longer that the breadlines of bureaucracy. Selma was the staging ground for the peaceful protests meant to catch the attention of all colors and encourage the mass to end the mob. It takes so much more kindness than we think it will, so many exhaustive examples of turning the other cheek before we know which side of the story to believe.My brother calls me a fighter. I don’t know, but it might have been tempting to join Malcolm X so long ago because it felt like results spurred on by action. What X could not see was that brutality has no timeline and once a fight, always a fight. King, however, was determined to win in the only way that actually buys freedom. He had to fight for peace with peace.This film, though somber and slow, a documentary pace, was still watchable, King and his comrades all likable. My only beef is that it oddly boasted real footage, actual phone conversations, word-for-word speeches for one side only. Even the typed timeline at the bottom of the screen follows only King. All of the scenes with the President, Alabama’s Governor, and any other government officials were off the record. This singular perspective that worked so hard to prove one side sadly worked to discredit the whole story by omitting information. I wanted the whole truth. I watched for it like we would any villain’s backstory. Well written editorials must, at the very least, present both sides. But thank God almighty for bringing freedom at last after the decades of injustice.
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