2014 Movie Reviews: Selma

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Ah yes, Selma. The movie I doubted throughout all of awards season. But everybody went crazy over this movie building it up as one of the all-time greatest biopics and comparing Oyelowo’s performance to Ben Kingsley in Gandhi. And after being pleasantly surprised by The Imitation Game, I went in with high hopes. Unfortunately, I ended up disappointed.

In a year with so many truly great films this year, this was one I simply couldn’t get into. It’s well made and everything, but when you compare it to some of the other biopics this year. This one falls flat because it’s so obviously Oscar Bait. It’s not just a biopic, it’s also what some critics refer to as a “white guilt” movie. Those always have a big impact on Awards season, no matter their quality.

That’s not to say Selma is a bad movie. The cast is all good, but there weren’t any performances that really stand out. In fact, there isn’t much that makes this film stand out at all. Tech-wise, it’s all put together well, but I feel like there’s nothing this film does that hasn’t already been done before.

And I have nothing against Ava DuVernay. I haven’t seen Middle Of Nowhere. She seems so nice and I’m interested to see what she does in the future. But at times, the film gets dull and boring. But while it does have it’s share of nice moments, and there’s nothing really wrong with the film, the overall experience is more of a history lesson than a fine piece of cinema.

I’d like to stress that it’s not a bad movie. But this is an Oscar-bait movie that I’m not crazy about, though I understand imagine why others like it so much. It’s obviously Oscar bait, but the film is still worth your time if you want to see it. There’s nothing bad in it at all, but it’s not the masterpiece that many have been building it up to be.

***1/2

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